Me and my boy are scheduled to see The Who playing Quadrophenia from beginning to end next week, so we prepared by watching Franc Roddam’s directorial debut, a story of a miserable 1960s London “Mod” (Phil Daniels) eternally at war with his parents, his job, the girl he fancies, rival “Rockers” and all that bourgeois b.s.
Daniels is a punk, through and through, and increasingly, it appears he is mentally disturbed. He either laughs goofily or snarls, and at no point do we feel empathy for his not particularly difficult plight. He has a job, a super cool Vespa, a gang of friends who are pleasant and tepid, and a fondness for readily available pills. His life is also soundtracked to The Who, fer crissakes (poorly, though – it’s clear the director didn’t know how to fit the music into the film and with the exception of the final scene, the musical contribution of band is distracting rather than evocative).
There are some charms to the movie. It was filmed on location in London and Brighton and the final scene (where Daniels either kills himself or he doesn’t) is a pretty impressive (though overlong) helicopter shot of a precarious ride along the Brighton cliffs.
If you look close, you’ll also see a boatload of very young Brit actors who went on to solid careers, including Tim Spall, Ray Winstone, and Phillip Davis. It’s a shame one of them didn’t get the lead, because Daniels appears to have been chosen solely for his likeness to Pete Townsend.
Sting is also featured.