Purple Beatz              Dir Lola Atkins

I wanted to like this film. A fine young cast of Izzy Jones, Steven Michael-O’Hara and Erika Alexander provide warmth and charm throughout, but sadly they have to fight against a dismal, uninspired script that does no-one any favours.

Jones is Sarah-Jane, fetching up at her friend Deedee’s house in London from their home town of Bournemouth, intent on making it as a jazz singer. Initially, she finds nothing but friendship and support. Deedee (Erika Alexander) lets her stay, finds her a job in a record store and takes her out to a roller rink where she meets Airbeats (Steven Michael-O’Hara). Just like that, she has a home, a job and a boyfriend.

Deedee also arranges a slot for her to sing at a nightclub, where she is spotted by producer Russell-D, played by Aron von Andrian as a ranting, gibbering sleazebag from whom even Little Miss Dumb from Dumb Street, Dumbville would flee without giving him a second glance. Sarah-Jane, of course, signs a contract with him without even reading it.

And so she jettisons the boyfriend and her job and her friendship with Deedee as she dives into Russell’s drug fuelled world in order to “make it big”. The real fail here is that the script is so lacking in depth, which, coupled with the obvious budgetary restraints that mean that the enthusiastic crowds in the clubs tend to run to only seven or eight people, gives a very hollow and lacklustre feeling to proceedings.

Equally, there is little sense of time and place. Showing someone making a call from a phone box, or using a house-brick sized mobile is not enough to transport us back to the drum’n’bass scene of the 90s.

Sadly, this is a missed opportunity. Much could have been made of the abusive nature of some of those in power in the music industry, but somehow it fails to really get this point across.

I hope we will see more of Ms Jones, her talents deserve a much more dynamic vehicle that this.

Jim Welsh

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