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Killing Bono


Stars: Ben Barnes, Robert Sheehan, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Townsend, Peter Serafinowicz, Pete Postlethwaite, Justine Waddell, Krysten Ritter, Martin McCann, Hugh O'Conor, Diarmuid Noyes

Director: Nick Hamm

Good entertainment value is extracted by director Hamm from this true story of an Irish band who grew up with the famous U2 and, somewhat to leader Neil McCormick's chagrin, supported them at some of their gigs. While U2 and their front man Bono (McCann) head for the top, Neil (Barnes) makes all the wrong decisions, being determined that his band, Shook Up, will make it on their own talent.

These include blocking U2's move to hire his brother (Sheehan) without the latter's knowledge and, later, after Shook Up are accepted by a record label, bedding the manager's wife and turning down a request from a now-famous Bono to support U2 at a prestigious concert.

The architect of his own destruction, Neil provides a very different role for Barnes after Prince Caspian and Dorian Gray, and, although his Irish accent comes and goes, the performance is full of raw power. Sheehan's accent is rather more reliable, and there are colourful supporting turns from Townsend (as the band's gangster mentor), Noyes (as his enforcer), the late Postlethwaite as the boys' very fey landlord, and Serafinowicz as their manager.

True, the ending's a bit of an anti-climax but the majority of the film has a vibrancy and urgency that's a credit to its director. Good script, too, from talented veterans Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais in conjunction with Simon Maxwell.

David Quinlan

UK 2010. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
114 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Mar 2011