It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Mockumentary, Satire, Musical Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 15, 2005 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - Canada , United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

It's All Gone Pete Tong is an incredibly confusing title for a movie. Those in the rave music scene -- most likely the film's only audience -- will know Pete Tong as a successful DJ on the electronica circuit, so they'll wonder why a movie about someone going deaf uses his name to characterize the downfall. Those more in the know may recognize the saying as rhyming slang, meaning "it's all gone wrong." However user-unfriendly the title, the corresponding narrative may be even less accessible. Writer/director Michael Dowse keeps the action at arm's length, part of an abortive attempt at a mockumentary -- Dowse includes interview footage with other DJs and observers, but reverts most often to a fiction-film setup. Since Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye) himself is never interviewed or shown in any context that develops his character, he's the most remote element of his own would-be "biopic." What we do see is filled with bile -- he spits on people, boozes and pill-pops to excess, and behaves like a reckless hooligan. When, after a melodramatic nosedive, he makes his inevitable (and unbelievable) comeback, it's decidedly hollow. The viewer has no reason to root for Frankie, because he never learns anything, even bursting into an obscenity-laced tirade during his comeback press conference. The best thing the film has going for it is how the sound design allows the viewer to experience gradual hearing loss from Frankie's perspective. The fact that he was a shell of a person beforehand makes him pathetically ill-equipped to cope, which works well as an indictment of his consequence-damning lifestyle. Still, Dowse has produced a disappointment here, both for music fans who wanted to see some good Ibiza rave footage, and for moviegoers looking for a satisfying triumph over adversity.