This film is a docudrama of the Beatles in the days of their Hamburg and Liverpool performances before they became international celebrities. The focus is on the friendship between John Lennon and the artist Stu Sutcliffe, whose participation in the band ended tragically with his sudden, unexpected death.
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Critic Reviews for Backbeat
There's nothing very profound here, but we do at least get a nice handling of period and milieu, and pretty good performances of the songs.
What pulls you over the bum spots is the electrifying immediacy.
The early, pre-fame days of the Beatles are a great subject for a film, but the potential has been only partly realized in Backbeat.
The music is loud and raw, but nevertheless evokes the excitement it generated.
Backbeat, which for all its pretensions can often be impressively canny and affectionate about its subject, is helped enormously by newly recorded versions of Beatle records.
Working with a time period and two crucial characters probably not too familiar to less-than-avid Beatles or rock fans, Softley needs a great performance, and he gets it from Hart.
First-time director Iain Softley makes the film more visually distinctive than most music bios.
The film tells the story of the original, little-known fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, a young painter with rock n' roll sensibility who in 1960 forgoes his promising art career to join his best friend John Lennon (nicely played by Ian Hart) in Berlin
You can't miss the affection and sincerity Backbeat carries from start to finish.... Softley bottles the attitude and energy, the excitement of the new, that were as integral to the Beatles' success as their songs.
The music, done here by a group of grunge all-stars, doesn't even attempt to sound dead-on, but remains mostly true to the raucous spirit of the time.
points to the tragic irony of immortality being achieved through early death
Iain Softley directs his feature debut with simplicity and feeling, and you don't have to have been a Beatles fan to get with the beat. Gives you hope for the British film industry.
Even non-Beatles fans -- myself included -- should give this one a try.
An engaging look at fifth Beatle Stuart Sutclife and his relationship with John Lennon.
Nice look at the early life of the Beatles.
Very good biopic about the early days of the Beatles
interesting, colorful backstage Beatles chronicle
An interesting look at the Beatle who never was.
Audience Reviews for Backbeat
This is an admittedly highly fictionalized version of the Beatles early days in Hamburg, but that is not the central theme of the movie. It's really about a love triangle between two best friends, and the woman they both are drawn to. There are a few great characters brought to life by a few very good performances by the actors portraying them, and that is what really drew me in. That said, any Beatles fan will also dig the stylized look at their early days. You can't really take it as fact, but you can have a hell of a lot of fun imagining that this is sort of the way it might have been.More
Not just another film or story about The Beatles, this is the story of Stuart Sutcliffe; the fifth Beatle, his relationship with John Lennona and their time with the rest of The Beatles in Hamberg.
Whilst being a fan (although not a die hard fan) of The Beatles, I knew very little of Stuart Sutcliffe, so this made for interesting viewing and also showed John Lennon in a slightly different light to most portrayals and the obvsious bond between the two of them.
This is an OK movie. I suspect it had difficulty deciding whether it was made as a documentary about the Beatles early years, or a story about the unfortunate life of Stuart Sutcliffe.More
Good true life and tragic story of a musician and artist Stuart Sutcliffe in the early days of The Beatles in Hamburg. He was known as the 5th Beatles.More
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