Another pretty good movie from Mark Herman, who also did Little Voice, a movie I reviewed a couple of days ago. And, like Little Voice, there's a more serious message at its core. Though this movie did it far more openly than Little Voice ever did. Of course, the movie wears its message on its sleeves and that message is shitting on the government for closing down mining pits that have led, since the 80s, to 250,000 people losing their jobs. The movie sees a community of miners, who also happen to be in a brass band, fighting to keep their jobs, fighting what is, most likely, a losing battle. The brass band is the only thing that is really keeping them together during this difficult time, so the movie is definitely as dramatic as it is comedic. But there is a problem with this. It's not bad, and I actually did like the dramatic stuff. While cliched and a little sappy, its characters are likable and easy to relate to. The problem is that, outside of a few exceptions, the comedy and the drama never mix. The movie goes like this the first 40 minutes or so of the movie are the comedic portion of the film. This first part of the film is like one film unto itself. The next 40 minutes are dedicated to the more serious stuff, with little to any comedy. The last 20 minutes of the movie are the preparation for the finals and the finals itself, nothing really funny or dramatic here...well other than Danny's speech when they win, which was probably a little preachy, yet still effective. And I think that's a problem, the movie never finds the right balance at all. It's like you'd tell your children, boys play with boys and girls play with girls. Except that in this case it's the comedy and the drama. The movie just never finds a consistent tone. I realize a lot of movies take this same approach. Yet, somehow, in this movie it's far more obvious than in a lot of other movies. It was really jarring to spend 40 straight minutes without a single laugh. And, again, I think they do a good job at really showing how the government's decision will negatively affect many families, this is illustrated the most in Phil's character, but I think this part of the movie could've used a little more comedy. And that's this movie's biggest problems, the comedy and the drama in this film are kept as far apart as is humanly possible. Because of that, it ends up feeling like 2 different movies in one. I think the writing is solid, the comedy is good but, much like Little Voice, not laugh out loud funny. I really did like the movie. If it hadn't been for the way the two genres were kept apart as if they were allergic to one another. But this movie has all the ingredients, a solid cast, some good writing and some social commentary. Granted the social commentary is WAY to obvious but, again, the movie makes a lot of good points. Still the movie is, structurally, a goddamn mess. Pretty good movie but a disappointment in some regards.