6.8/10
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The 27 Club (2008)

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1:58 | Trailer
Twenty-seven is more than just a number. It is a lifetime.

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8 wins. See more awards »

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Credited cast:
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David P. Emrich ...
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Kyle Luker ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Anderson
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Jeff Babb ...
Man in Diner #2
Denise S. Bass ...
Waitress
Catherine Bayley ...
Dierdre
Bill Brady ...
Pilot
Darwin Brandis ...
Skinhead
Justin Campbell ...
Nikolai
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Police Inspector
Joseph Daggs ...
Vietnam war vet
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Storyline

Eliot is the surviving member of the rock band Finn after his bandmate and best friend Tom commits suicide a week after his 27th birthday. With the help of small-town boy Three Words, and a young Irish hitchhiker, Eliot travels in a drug-enhanced stupor from LA to his home town Joplin, Missouri to carry out Tom's last request. Written by Anonymous

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f rated | number in title | See All (2) »

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Drama

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26 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Twenty Seven Club  »

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2.35 : 1
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Enough originality and heart to make it worth the trip
13 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One advantage (or disadvantage, as the case may be) of attending film festivals is that trends become readily apparent. Within one 24-hour period here at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival I saw three road films -- all involving two guys and a girl. Within that same 24-hour period I also saw three films with suicide as a central plot point -- two in a row, in fact. One was "The 27 Club," and it combines both -- it's a road movie, with two guys and a girl, with suicide at its core. And even that's not totally original. In fact, one of my Top Picks of the past couple of years was Wristcutters: A Love Story, which was -- you guessed it -- a road movie with suicide as a central theme. Yet "The 27 Club" is a moving, poignant film which stands out among the rest.

"The 27 Club" takes its title from a quip by Kurt Cobain's mother after his death in 1994, noting that, in addition to her son, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, and a host of other musicians had all taken their own lives at the age of 27. The film opens with one half of the fictional band The Finns, 27-year-old Tom Wallace (played admirably by James Forgey, mostly in flashbacks, of course), dying by his own hand. The bandmate he left behind, Elliot Kerrigan (Joe Anderson), sets out on the road with a grocery bag boy as his enlisted driver (David Emrich) along with Irish student Stella (Bono's daughter Eve Hewson) as a travel companion. The purpose of the trip and ultimate goal involve several mysteries, enough to keep the viewer guessing along the way.

While the three are certainly unlikely travel mates, always making for good drama, "The 27 Club" is really a one-man show with lead actor Joe Anderson (Becoming Jane, Across the Universe) carrying the film from start to finish. His tortured soul of a rock star is frighteningly brilliant and totally believable. Still, "The 27 Club" is mainly story-driven and writer/director Erica Dunton has penned a clever script with just enough gallows humor to keep the movie from becoming too depressing. After all, how do you laugh when someone has just offed themselves? Through the use of flashbacks, the film often reverts to a non-linear narrative. Rather than confuse the viewer, though, it actually gives the film a heightened sense of urgency which only deepens the mysteries at the heart of the film.

Cinematographer Stephen Thompson elegantly captures the beauty and lush landscape of the American west, with its sweeping vistas and stunning sunsets. "The 27 Club" has a true indie feel, with copious use of natural lighting and an original rock soundtrack that adds and connects to the film like few others do -- the songs are actually written and performed by The Finns, the fictional band featured in the story itself. This apparent contradiction is resolved when one learns that the movie itself created the musical act, as life truly imitates art.

If "The 27 Club" seems heavy, well, it can be depending on one's own experience. The obvious caveat to anyone who has suffered a loss, especially to suicide: the film may either salt old wounds or be cathartic, depending on the individual. There are messages here but they are muted, not in-your-face with words of wisdom spouting forth from scene to scene. Despite its familiar themes, the story is ultimately unpredictable, with surprising payoffs at every turn. "The 27 Club" has enough originality and heart to make it worth the trip.


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