Beats is a ride of mischievous behavior combined with friendship. Directed by Brian Welsh, and executive producing done by Steven Soderbergh, Beats includes many risky scenarios that are intriguing, haunting, and inviting. The time period is set in the early 1990s and the film is blended with black and white cinematography. The setting and the cinematography add to the entertainment. The question is, “Could the two main characters have wild fun without serious consequences?”
The film gears on two best friends in Scotland. They are Johnno (played by Cristian Ortega) and Spanner (played by Lorn Macdonald). Both have issues at home that they feel they cannot overcome making their lives miserable. Johnno lives with his abusive and criminal brother, and Spanner is about to move to a new town with his family and his mom’s significant other (who he does not feel close to). Due to the sorrow caused by the fact that Johnno and Spanner are going to be separated from each other, they make a risky decision to party one last time together. They choose to go to an illegal rave part where they run into a mix of destruction, freedom, and legalities that they will always remember.
Given the outcomes of their decisions and associated consequences, their friendship, Johnno and Spanner does not change. What grasped my attention was that the two friends keep making risky decisions, but they view those decisions as a way of making positive memories of their friendship as opposed to focusing on the irreparable consequences. When they make one bad decision, they just make another one, and they find it entertaining. These risky behaviors made Beats engrossing, because I found myself curious wondering who was going to suffer the worst consequences. The outcomes provide much anticipation and interest for viewers.
The film’s timeframe added to the risky decisions, since the main technology they had for fun in the 1990s was radios and TV. There was no streaming or fancy smart phone technologies which people now use daily for life, work and fun. Beats shows how boredom could have stirred up dangerous times for enjoyment in the 1990s. Many events like parties and raves were much more exclusive due to limited ways of promoting them. That is why the illegal party becomes a special opportunity for Johnno and Spanner. From their vantage point, it was a chance to have the time of their lives and put their problems behind them for a change.
This was a film that was a different experience on many levels. It was like a young version of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) blended with black and white. I felt like I was watching a younger generation of two European misfits trying to boost their confidence and live life to the fullest. Beats is a summer fun ride and I give it four stars.