Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Almost everyone has a tale of lost opportunity---failing to buy a certain piece of property, marry a special person, choose a different career---and most people sigh over their decision, and then move on. But what if at their starts you turned down an offer to work for Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg, play with the Beatles or Madonna, take a leading role in Star Wars or Gone With The Wind? What if while in high school, by no fault of your own but because a family member decided against telling you, the offer to play guitar for Bono and The Edge as they were starting up U2 was missed, leading to years of frustration playing dead-end gigs and missing out on record deals, again at the direction of that very same relative? Well, it happened, and the resulting story is played out in Nick Hamm’s Killing Bono (2011), a delightful and rollicking Irish film about the brothers McCormick, the older of which Neil (played by Ben Barnes) decline’s his high school pal’s offer to his younger brother to join Bono (Martin McCann). Neil is one of the unluckiest, angriest, bitter, star-crossed musicians to ever grace a stage, who because of his outsized ego and determination to best his former rival, lead him to repeatedly turn down golden opportunities, the whole time as his unsuspecting brother struggles along in support of his older sibling’s dreams. Although the film is advertised as a comedy, and indeed there are funny parts, it is mostly the tale of disappointment and poor choices, brotherhood and forgiveness, determination and defeat, and to a certain degree mental instability. One of the most enjoyable parts of the movie is the final performance on film by Pete Postlethwaite as the boy’s gay landlord. No doubt there is a lot that fans of the famous band and afficiandos of music from this era will enjoy and understand.