" For your information, my life is a living Hell "
— Elizabeth Hurley (as the devil), Bedazzled

MRQE Top Critic

The Great Train Robbery

(review...)

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Our protagonist, Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye), is a DJ who has gone deaf, and he’s spent a year going mad on cocaine. At a bar he watches drummers and a flamenco dancer perform. He reaches for his glass of port and he realizes, through the vibrations of the jumping glass, that he can still “hear” through his other senses. Cinematography, sound design, and acting come together to convey without words the most important moment in a person’s life.

It’s hardly the stuff of comedy, though, which is how audiences are enticed to see Pete Tong. They may not get what they paid for, but I hope they won’t be too disappointed.

:-) / :-(

Tragic comedy about a DJ who goes deaf
Tragic comedy about a DJ who goes deaf

Wilde has all the trappings of rock-star fame: drug problems, drinking problems, inflated ego, and girl trouble. But the one problem he’s not prepared for is the loss of his hearing. After a year of self-pity in cocaine hell, Frankie gets help from a Spanish teacher for the deaf named Penelope (Beatriz Batarda).

It’s All Gone Pete Tong is billed as a comedy and a mockumentary. But the “deaf” plot works better as a drama. And the “mockumentary” aspect is not a coherent style, but an add-on to the plot, like a Greek chorus. So you might say It’s All Gone Pete Tong is a big failure if you measure it by what it sets out to do.

But much is good in the film. Kaye has the grungy, offbeat energy of Rhys Ifans, but he’s even scragglier. Wilde’s producer (Mike Wilmot) is a nice mix of professionally sleazy and genuinely concerned for Wilde. Batarda is so good as Penelope that it would be easy to believe she were actually deaf. Cinematography and sound are as polished as they would be on a much bigger-budget production.

DVD Extras

The making-of featurette includes a handful of anecdotes from the cast and crew. Kaye blew the sound system at a real club in Ibiza, Spain; it was hard to round up extras in the resort town because everyone there was on vacation and didn’t want to work. The stories will be of interest to fans of the movie, but don’t add much to the film itself.

There are three other special features: The Rise, The Fall, and The Redemption. They appear to be deleted scenes, but they might also have been little comedy sketches shot just for the DVD. In one, Kaye plays Wilde’s childhood Rabbi. In another, Kaye plays Wilde as a guest on a Spanish cooking show. The second and third of these are funny, highlighting Kaye’s wonderful skill for ad-libbing, but all three are insubstantial.

Picture and Sound

The dialogue is clear as the music fades back. But during the music scenes, a loud, party-atmosphere surround sound fills the room. The effect is very clubby, with a big, full sound.

The movie is presented in its original widescreen format, and the transfer is very clean.