[Film Review] Quadrophenia (1979)

Quadrophenia poster

Title: Quadrophenia
Year: 1979
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Franc Roddam
Writers:
Dave Humphries
Martin Stellman
Franc Roddam
Music: The Who
Cinematography: Brian Tufano
Cast:
Phil Daniels
Leslie Ash
Philip Davis
Mark Wingett
Ray Winstone
Sting
Toyah Willcox
Trevor Laird
John Bindon
Garry Cooper
Gary Shail
Kate Williams
Michael Elphick
Benjamin Whitrow
Timothy Spall
Rating: 6.2/10

Quadrophenia 1979

Stumbling upon this eponymous tie-in of THE WHO’s 1973 rock opera album QUADROPHENIA comes as simple as a happenstance out of a grab bag, haven’t heard of the album and being an outsider to this period of mods fashion, it is a primitive yet purest experience to appreciate a film on its own terms.

It is another REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) youth ill at ease, a telling zeitgeist encapsulation recounts a young mod’s contradiction against the world in 1960s, his family, his job, his friends, his idol, and his love interest, all fail to gratify him. When the only thing he is left with is a souped-up moped, his destructive bravado indicates whether it is a resounding emblem of all perish together or a belated disillusion to bode farewell to his vapid and futile past? Fortunately the film chooses the latter (unlike the album’s more radical stance), so it is a more generically pleasing alternative, but since our protagonist is not such a sympathetic character, a whiff of insouciance is irrevocable to eschew even in the culminating sequences alongside a magnificent precipice.

The mods vs. rockers commotions play a key role in venting the discontent among sociopaths, anarchists and boredom-driven young generation, which is universally pertinent to elsewhere in the world, we may blame youth for their narrow-minded prejudices, but the adult world depicted here is no more appealing neither. Phil Daniels and his pals (Wingett, Davis and Shail) exude excellent street cred of the fashion, although none of them galvanizes me into any further inspection, save Leslie Ash’s promiscuous lass, she is the only one seems to be cool about what’s happening around and understand the ephemeral phase of idiocy. Sting has a supporting role as mechanical as one can imagine despite of his gorgeousness, and a budding Ray Winstone in his seldom seen role as the injured party of a brawl.

The songs from the namesake album segues fluently throughout the film, nostalgia works much better in audio than visual this time I must say, it is a movie attracts its own cult followers and its socio-cultural astuteness may be worthy of a conscientious rediscovery if put inside a time capsule and wait to be exhumed a few more generations later.

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