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Killing Bono (2011)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

48

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 5,021

My Rating

Movie Info

Killing Bono is a rock' n' roll comedy about two Irish brothers struggling to forge their path through the 1980's music scene, whilst the meteoric rise to fame of their old school pals U2 only serves to cast them deeper into the shadows. -- (C) Arc

Jan 16, 2012

Cinedigm Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (19) | DVD (3)

While Barnes and Sheehan are persuasive as the squabbling siblings, the music-biz mockery is blunt and obvious.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A charming admixture of "Goodfellas" and "Almost Famous," "Killing Bono" is a fanciful rock tale that is nevertheless based on a true story.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comment (1)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A shapeless rock-music caper that, like its deluded antihero, just doesn't know when to stop.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hamm's movie is sparky and fun, and full of affectionate pokes at the '80s music scene. It's also, in terms of music biopics, probably better than the real thing.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The migraine of a story arc needed sharp comedy reflexes or, at least, a live-wire/slummy star turn and got neither.

November 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Amadeus it's not, but as light transitional music, the film-which has Pete Postlethwaite's final performance, as a swishy landlord-is tuneful enough.

November 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An amusingly fluffy musical biopic.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: IFC.com
IFC.com

the story of what would charitably be called a wackadoo

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Neil's not a very likable protagonist - he's actually often awful - but who can't relate to that nagging certainty that one's destined for great things?

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

There's a difference between "funny" and "comedy," and the movie adaptation of Killing Bono tries way too hard to be nutty, at the expense of just getting across what McCormick knows.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Killing Bono never really gets going, mostly because it has no real idea of how to convey joy, pain, or any type of emotional progression.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Don't expect any factual expose about the formative years of U2; this is more of a rock farce in which the band is sort of a plot device.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

It's certainly lightweight, but there's nothing at all wrong with that. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

October 18, 2011 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Killing Bono's rise-and-fall arc is a little predictable, but the cast is spirited and U2 fans should get a kick out of the references to the band's early days.

October 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

Like an overlong guitar solo, the film sags badly in the middle as mouthy Neil sabotages his own career again and again, but co-writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais provide plenty of gags and the performances are full of vim.

September 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

It's awash with broad humour, comedic contrivances and sitcom setups.

July 6, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

[O]ne of the most painfully funny movies I've ever seen... plays like a satire on rags-to-riches clichés even though it's mostly true...

April 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Feeds off a tenuous U2 connection to give a not-very-interesting tale of a rock'n'roll failure a higher profile.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Audience Reviews for Killing Bono

I really enjoyed this film. I had so much fun watching this movie, and I personally found it fantastic. I have not read the book, but I loved what was done in this story. I am assuming that it did not follow the book very well by some of the fan reviews that I have read. The movie in itself was so enjoyable, that I don't really care that it took poetic license (as movie makers will do). I am interested, however, in reading this book now...
October 1, 2012
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Very funny movie about Neil McCormick and his brother Ivan who want to be rock stars. But they are over shadowed by their school friend Paul aka Bono. This movie looks at the journey of the two brothers to rock bottom while U2 raise to stardom. Stars Ben Barnes. I was also an extra in the movie so it was very exciting to be a part of it and to watch it.
April 5, 2011
thmtsang
T Tsang

Super Reviewer

It all starts so innocently in Dublin when Ivan(Robert Sheehan) auditions for a band that Paul(Martin McCann) is putting together. Paul wants him as rhythm guitarist for his band, The Hype, but Ivan's brother Neil(Ben Barnes) intervenes without his brother's knowledge to keep him out of their band and in his, The Undertakers, who end up opening up for The Hype, just before it is renamed U2. Years later, Neil is a music journalist while The Undertakers are having trouble finding a venue to even perform in, eventually settling on an illegal strip joint where they cut a deal with Machin(Stanley Townsend), so they can move to London to pursue their dreams.

Enter Gloria(Krysten Ritter).

Well, if there was a fifth Beatle, then why could not there have almost been a fifth member of U2? It is a question the tragicomedy "Killing Bono," based on a true story, answers in its own engagingly offbeat way, aided by Pete Postlethwaite who is a blast in his final screen appearance and Stanley Townsend in a neat turn. And that's not to mention the usual bug-eyed charm of Robert Sheehan.

In general, "Killing Bono" does a fine job of exploring what it takes to succeed in the music business. When we first see U2, there is no doubt they are going places, although maybe not as world conquerors, yet. And then there is Neil, as the movie points out, who is plagued by chronic guilt, bad decisions and even worse timing on an almost divine scale, being simultaneously overshadowed by and doomed to trying to compete with somebody who is just so gosh darn nice.
May 11, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

The premise of "Killing Bono" -- that teen classmates of U2 would simultaneously form their own band and struggle for recognition while jealously watching Bono and company conquer the world -- should be irresistible to rock-music lovers. That it's based on a true story adds even more allure. Unfortunately, the facts were obviously embellished to create a more entertaining screenplay -- the self-destructive choices of the rival band's singer (who also wrote the book that inspired the film) are so wildly stupid that credibility is shot. I mean, really -- what member of an unsigned club band would turn down a chance to open for U2? As for depictions of U2 itself, most fans will be disappointed. None of the group's real members appear. Just one U2 song ("I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For") is on the soundtrack. The simulated group is barely shown performing, and only the "Bono" actor has a substantial part. He is a poor physical match. Sadly, the film's most memorable performance comes from the late Pete Postlethwaite as a homosexual landlord and mentor. It was his final role.
May 9, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

    1. Karl: I'm telling people they're the next U2, only better looking, and gay.
    – Submitted by Emily M (2 years ago)
    1. Bono: You're looking at U2.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Bono: Aw Jesus lads. Make some space. Mick Jagger didn't have to deal with a bass in his face.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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