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An improvised comedy, shot over five days by Shane Meadows, devised with and starring Paddy Considine. Rock roadie and failed musician, Le Donk has lived, loved and learned. Along the way he's lost a girlfriend but he has found a new sidekick in up-and-coming rap prodigy Scor-zay-zee. With Meadows' fly-on-the-wall crew in tow, Donk sets out to make Scor-zay-zee a star...with a little help from the Arctic Monkeys... This low-budget rockumentary follows Le Donk and Scorz on their journey of a lifetime; it's an unpredictable, irrepressible ode to spontaneous filmmaking - and to a burgeoning UK rap talentWritten by
So-so film driven by Considine but it could have been so much better with a little more effort
A few years after the heights of This is England, Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine came out with this little seen film which is a sort of reality-mockumentary. The film follows a roadie of sorts ahead of him setting up for the Arctic Monkeys and also trying to secure a warm-up slot for podgy white rapper Scor-Zay-zee. In the style of a reality show it is mostly unscripted as it follows Le Donk around from his parent's home to his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
This sat on my queue for quite some time before I finally decided to watch it and I think the reasons for this are pretty clear. Even from the description the film looks like something that was thrown together in about five days on the barest expenses and it looks like that might be a bad thing, despite it being something the makers boast about. This is exactly what the film turns out to be though and it is not always a good thing. Working with a very basic script and improvising a lot of stuff is tougher than it looks; you think it must be possible to work it out in the edit but the truth must be you have hours of rubbish because the reason people sound cool in movies is that it is scripted, rehearsed and refined – in real life you have to just say whatever comes, which isn't that good often. And so it is in this film because what is missing from it is meaning.
It is character driven – they are in the titles, they are the focus of the plot and they are the only reason cameras are there – so it only stands to reason we have a film about them as characters. The door is open in particular for the film to find the person behind the swagger and noise in Le Donk but the film never does it. It would be tough to achieve this all improvised but it could have been done with clearer scene structure and direction, and it would have made the film better by some margin as it would have given something for the viewer to follow. It sort of happens, but that's about the height of it because mostly Le Donk is a comedy character (who isn't particularly funny) and we don't learn a terrible lot about him.
This isn't Considine's fault though, because he at least makes the film watchable by virtue of his performance. He is an arrogant idiot who is full of unjustified toughness and it shows to everyone except him. I would have loved Meadows to partially script some scenes to make more of this character but I guess that what happens when you limit yourself to a few days to make the film. Palinczuk is likable and has some ability with writing for sure, but again there isn't a person here – what you see is all we're allowed to get. Colman is an odd find but is natural here, while the star power of the Arctic Monkeys at least doesn't get in the way of the film.
Overall though, this is a so-so film. It is driven forward by Considine and the gimmick of how it was all made, but these are not enough on their own. It works well considering it was improvised but to be honest it could have done with a bit more of a structure in terms of the characters to allow us to benefit from it being so tightly focused on them. This is a novelty, but it could have been better with just a little bit more work in regards character and character development. Worth a glance for Meadows/Considine fans, but for the casual viewer it will feel like a joke stretched thin.
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