Quadrophenia Reviews

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June 22, 2013
Criterion Collection Blu-Ray
March 23, 2013
Quadrophenia is a film I grew up with and have a lot of love for. The collaboration of great characters, performances, scripting and music is perfectly balanced. Phil Daniels steals the show as the leading character Jimmy Cooper. The audience sees through the eyes of Phil Daniels and his performance is nothing short of fantastic. The supporting cast is brilliant with great performances from Mark Wingett, Philip Davis, Garry Cooper, Ray Winstone, Leslie Ash and a very cool understated performance from Sting. The script is brilliant and the comic timing never gets old. The scooters at great and the rivalry between the mods and rockers makes for great viewing. The real star of this film however is the soundtrack. With great music from Marvin Gaye, James Brown and in particular The Who. Quadrophenia is British filmmaking at its most sentimental and nostalgic and I hope it stands the test of time for culturally curious generations to come.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2013
"16h20p16--16h20p16--16h20p16--16h20p16--16h20p16--16h20p16--|16--16h18--21-|
|--------18--------18--------18--------18--------18--------18|--18-----18---|
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|------------------------------------------------------------|--------------|!"Yeah, you can't lamely quote the lyrics to an instrumental, so I just lamely put down a little sample of the tabs from the titular song off of this film's source material album of the same somewhat awkward sounding name. Oh no, I'm very well aware that the title to this film and the album upon which it's based are refering to quadraphonic sound, but come on, now you can't deny that this title is an "L" in the place of the "N" away from helping you in seeing why Pete Townshend was faced with accusation that he had a thing for kids. Well, in all fairness, the child pornography that he looking through for the purpose of "research that would help him in better understanding the enemy in his fight against child pornography" didn't help, but hey, I still like him, and besides, my dad though Townshend was gay sooner than a pedophile, so I guess no one else really cares either. Hey, if you ask me, I think that Townshend really was doing research, as he does indeed know the struggle of children, as reflect in the album "Quadrophenia", as well as this adaptation, or at least that's what was said by critics who were too dirt-old by the '70s, alone, to understand what kids were talking about. Shoot, I'm not much more credible, because I can't even begin to get the kids I hate and am not a child of the '60s or '70s, no matter how much I think I am in my own little adorably insane way. Hey, I'm crazy like Jimmy Cooper, so I guess I'm close enough to relating to this rock opera's protagonist, at least more than I am to relating to Tommy from The Who's (Wait, wouldn't the proper way to say it be, "The Whose"?) other big rock opera, what my not being deaf, blind, dumb (I have some friends who would say otherwise), or even as good-looking or as good a vocalist as Roger Daltrey "was" (Sorry, man, but no matter how much you try, in recent years, that vocal rasp and stiff chin are really starting to stick out, and not just literally), which I suppose is fitting, because as much as I had fun with "Tommy", this here is the better Who film, though most certainly not to where my "love reigns o'er it" (Put down your hippity-hoppy junk, kids, and listen to some real music to get it), thanks to quite a few shortcomings.

A film like this could have easily dragged its feet something fierce, and lord knows that I feared that this product was going to, so of course I am reasonably relieved to report that the final product isn't as slow as I feared, which isn't to say that this film's managing to evade relatively considerable slow spells lasts for very long, as the film, while rarely, if ever all-out boring, often dries up in atmosphere just enough to spark a degree of disengagement behind meanderings that can admittedly even be found on paper, without dry directorial execution. At about two hours, this film is hardly sprawling, and boasts a broad story concept whose execution could prove to be quite comfortable with a two-hour runtime, but just ends up thinning certain things out, and making up for lost time with excess filler that rather blandly pads things out, until the film is left dragging its feet even when you disregard the cold spots in atmosphere. If nothing else, all of the padding within this film's story structure sparks repetition, which is not so considerable that the film falls flat as near-monotonous, but is pretty much hard to deny, for the final product's often dragging along in circles gives you more than enough time to meditate upon just how thin this story concept is, at least in certain areas. Sure, there is more than a hint of meat on this film's bones, and enough of it for the final product to almost accel as rewarding on the whole, but what really undercuts this film's full potential is its crafting from a promising broad story concept a final story structure that offers only so much in the way of genuine plotting, which, upon finally getting around to arriving, is perhaps too familiar for its own good. The film doesn't necessarily feel all-out generic, probably because there's only so much plot to the final product, while truly generic films of this type are every bit as rich with conventions as they are of events, but there is enough conventionalism behind this film's storytelling to spark predictability. Even if you haven't listened to and somehow managed to fully piece together the story of this film's really good source material rock opera album of the same name, you'd be hard pressed to ignore that this film is heading toward predictable waters (By the ways, this story's non-ending doesn't work as well as it did on the album), and doing so rather aimlessly, meandering along either slowly or with loose and repetitious storytelling, if not both, and after a while, as you can imagine, your investment thins out too much to grasp onto the final product as the rewarding opus that it could have been, and would have been if it was more focused. Still, even with all of its shortcomings, this film ultimately carries on as fairly enjoyable, with enough engagement value to almost reward, and decidedly to keep you going, or at least deliver on rewarding musical aspects.

Now, the late Keith Moon and John Entwistle may have been great and all (Why'd you have to do that cocaine, John? You were almost 58 years old!), but The Who wasn't an all out phenomenal band, and yet, I would still consider myself something of a fan, as they were still very good, with more than a few fine diddies under their belt, particularly when it came to the rock opera concept album upon which this film is based, which isn't necessarily great, but told a reasonably intriguing story entertainingly, and helps in doing just that in this film adaptation, whose soundtrack, - which is rich with both Who classics and other delightful '60s pop tunes - to a certain degree, livens up both entertainment value and substance. Needless to say, this film isn't quite as defined by its musicality as "Tommy", but substance is colored up by lively tunes, as well as by striking visuals, because as dated as then-future early Danny Boyle cinematographer Brian Tufano's photographic efforts are in this film, it's not hard to miss the handsome moments in lensing, of which, there are many. Tufano's plays with coloring and lighting may not be crisply well-defined, but they have their share of lovely moments to compliment clever camera plays, and to break up a consistent degree of grit that is, in fact, intentional and itself effective as a compliment to the effectiveness of this film's story, whose value, to be honest, doesn't exactly need to be backed up by a rather distince visual style to be seen. This film's subject matter, even with its unique touches, is all but nothing new at all, yet it is still rather worthy, carrying potential for thematic and dramatic weight that is hardly as fulfilled as it should have been within this executions' meandering storytelling, but made just palpable enough by the moments within Dave Humphries's, Franc Roddam's, Martin Stellman's and Pete Townshend's script, and Roddam's direction, that are genuinely effective. The moments in which the film particularly compels are limited, but they can be found by the patient, who will find the burden of waiting softened considerably a consistent degree of intrigue, which does anything from almost drag the final product out of underwhelmingness, to gracing a potentially unlikable protagonist with genuine compellingness that, in all fairness, wouldn't be what it is without the strength of the person who is directly behind our protagonist. Sure, there are plenty of decent performances throughout this film, but this is a young Phil Daniels' show, and he carries it, delivering on a kind of genuine charisma that sells you on the angst and ambition within the Jimmy Cooper, until, of course, reality come crashing down upon Cooper's head, and gives Daniels the opportunity to deliver on layers and emotional range that may not be as abundant as it probably would have been if Daniels had more material to work with, but really ice the cake when it comes to defining Townshend's symbolic character as a flawed young human. I wish I could say that the film delivers as much as Daniels, who, even then, isn't given enough material to be all that terribly outstanding, but what is done right in this film is hard to deny, powering a flawed and aimless opus just enough for it to sustain your attention more often than not.

Bottom line, a promising project is all too often undercut by the slow spells, repetitious padding and plot thinness that spark a kind of aimlessness in storytelling, and emphasize conventionalism within this subject matter, whose predictability helps in rendering the final product somewhat underwhelming, though not so much so that you're not still entertained by a strong soundtrack, aesthetically engaged by a generally striking visual style, and engaged enough by strong spells within leading man Phil Daniels' genuine performance, and within the execution of an often mishandled, but generally intriguing story concept that leaves "Quadrophenia" to stand as enjoyable and sometimes compelling "Who-pla", regardless of its many flaws.

2.75/5 - Decent
February 5, 2013
Franc Roddam's Quadrophenia (being based on The Who's album of the same name) is a coming of age tale akin to something like Saturday Night Fever. That may seem a little strange to say, but both films have a lot in common. They're both very musically-driven films, they're both about a young teenager and his friends and they're both about growing up. The thing about this one though is that it's a more generalized look at a timeframe on purpose, whereas Saturday Night Fever was a reflection of the era it was made in without really meaning to. Quadrophenia is essentially about the Mods VS Rockers era in Britain, but we follow young Jimmy from place to place as he struggles with growing up and having his thoughts and emotions torn in several different directions. The film ends in a sour way but with hope for Jimmy that he'll be ok in the long run. There's also an early appearance by Sting just prior to his success with The Police. This is a wonderful and hard-rocking film with a lot of substance to it, as well as a great coming of age tale.
January 23, 2013
Great film. Always remember the mods and rockers down at Brighton... For those who said it didn't happen...

1964: Mods and Rockers jailed after seaside riots
Scores of youths have been given prison sentences following a Whitsun weekend of violent clashes between gangs of Mods and Rockers at a number of resorts on the south coast of England.
January 15, 2013
Superb acting and quite enjoyable...and The Who's soundtrack is amazing. Not at all what I imagined when listening to the 1973 album, but a really well put together film experience
February 23, 2009
Recommened lately by both my parents and was surprised at how much i liked. Its pretty fast and kinda vague on some details, but its quintessential British film-making and i kinda have to appreciate it. Plus both soundtrack and Sting are awesome
September 11, 2012
A movie about teen angst. Great soundtrack; so-so film.
December 22, 2012
A young man joins the British mod movement and gains a feeling of belonging and importance, but this makes him even more disenfranchised from his boring 9 to 5 life.

Britain's answer to Rebel Without A Cause is based around a fair-to-middling Who concept album (they financed the movie too) and was made on a modest budget, but has far too much going for it to be ignored. Especially if you are working class and come from the UK.

(How it is viewed elsewhere is beyond my telling, but reading reviews on this site I get the impression that people from all over the world can relate to its central themes - even if the locations and accents are alien.)

Director Franc Roddam was smart enough to cast a young Phil Daniels in the central role of Jimmy. Daniels is a good actor, but he is neither smooth or particularly good looking. This prevents him being accused of glamorising some of the things that he gets up to.

Jimmy is, indeed, also a bit naive. He has a boring job in the post room of an advertising agency (note the satire about pushing smoking - this is the "no health warning" 60's!) and rides around on a scooter with lots of lights on the front.

Life, for him, is about getting through the day and partying at night/weekends to the hip sounds of the day - the non-Who soundtrack album is a taster to mid 60's Brit Pop.

(His parents don't understand him either - but this could be taken as read in this style of movie!)

As most of us know, and a few even tell Jimmy in the movie proper: Life cannot be all parties, cheap thrills and gang fights, but he doesn't seem to want to listen. He is one of the world's great "there must be more to life than this" merchants - in this he is right, but you need to be brighter, better educated or better looking to have it.

There is a good cast of British new wavers on show here: Leslie Ash plays Jimmy's love interest and Sting gets to be the "Ace Face" - the good looking top dog mod that Jimmy wants to be. The home truth about this character leaves Jimmy even more exposed.

Quadrophenia is one of the greatest films about being a teenager ever made and thank god we have video cassettes, DVDs and cable/sat TV so people can actually see it. A low budget classic that deserves to seen at least once by all film buffs and several times if it reflects your life in any way.
½ July 28, 2009
Everyone should see this at least once
½ December 7, 2012
Smartly, director Franc Roddam did not attempt to make a film-version of Pete Townshend's landmark album. Thus fans expecting to see their favorite songs given the big-screen treatment will be disappointed. Rather, Roddam has managed to capture the angst of the album's protagonist, Jimmy, by needle-dropping key songs from Quadrophenia and the 60's mod-movement over the time-course of a few summer weeks in Jimmy's life, culminating in a Mods vs. Rockers showdown at Brighton after which both Jimmy and the Mod scene find themselves at a cross roads. Quadrophenia is a unique and timeless film about those awkward adolescent years in which we find ourselves unable to articulate our dreams, frustrations, and acting-out means choosing between music, violence or perhaps both.
December 7, 2012
Great British Youth film, loved the young actors and thought they did a fantastic job.
½ December 3, 2012
Distinctly British yet universal, this film, inspired by the music by The Who, is a powerful coming of age story featuring a fantastic performance by Phil Daniels.
November 26, 2012
It's been over 12 years since I last saw this film, and I still consider it the best rock opera ever made.
½ September 21, 2008
It's better than Tommy.
½ November 5, 2012
A rock-n-roll movie in the purest sense. This film version of The Who's concept album certainly has a storyline to it, but that's not director Franc Roddam's priority. Instead, Quadrophenia lets it's soundtrack and scenes of excess do the talking, and it acts as as a very fun generational statement, albeit not a very provocative one. (spoiler alert) The ending was a bit too similar to Harold and Maude's I gotta say though.
½ November 1, 2012
Maybe it's because I absolute love the 60's and 70's and anything to do with mod's, but this movie I enjoyed thoroughly. It's a brilliant interpretation of the constant war between mods and rockers, the urge to follow crowds to feel 'a part of it', and of course, trusting the correct people! I know I'm not the only one who felt particularly sorry for Monkey (the girl who obviously fancies Jimmy, but he doesn't even realize it) Jimmy is left alone by the end of the movie, which especially left me feeling connected and understanding towards him, but (though he doesn't realize it) he deserved it, as he did the same to Monkey as Steph did to him! This movie also demonstrates how following crowds develops hate towards different people, for no reason. Jimmy bumps into his old friend who he's not seen in years, and realizes he's now a rocker; this means that, as much as he doesn't like the thought, their friendship is over. So multiple meanings are hidden in this film, which is another reason why I loved it so much!
Jimmy is also very very attractive, so that's an immediate plus;-)
½ September 16, 2012
Enjoyed the Brighton ballroom scene most of all. Phil Daniels and the other kids were great, and it was nice seeing a young Ray Winstone as a Rocker. I have to say I think I prefer the Rockers to the Mods.
September 13, 2012
This is what it is like to be young, or it should be. The highs, lows, laughs and tears of being a teenager and feeling part of something and yet alienated at the same time. A cool, sassy film that gives a brilliant snapshot of mid Sixties Britain against a superb soundtrack. A fabulous, intoxicating movie.
September 8, 2012
Quadrophenia is a great film not just because it details british teen angst, but timeless, international teen angst.
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