Once a decade or so a film comes out that touches an entire generation. Ten years ago it was all about Garden State, but the time has come to pass the mantle. Tonight You’re Mine manages to break new ground in a genre that seems to always be on the verge of going stale. It is a modern day rock romance for the new generation.The story follows two feuding musicians during Scotland’s annual T in the Park music festival. What progresses is not only an interesting study in what it means to be a professional musician on the concert circuit but one of the best romance movies in a good long time.
We first meet Adam (Luke Treadaway, Clash of the Titans) and Morello (Natalia Tena, Game of Thrones) after a confrontation backstage. While it’s unclear why exactly they hate each other, after Morello threatens to smash Adam’s guitar it’s clear there is some genuine venom between them. In an effort to calm down the situation, a passing security guard- played beautifully tongue in cheek by legendary musician Al Green- tells the two groups to hold hands and tell the person next to them that they love them. When the two refuse to make amends, the guard takes matters into his own hands and handcuffs the two together and then simply disappears.
The plot itself may seem extremely simple but it brings together the two groups in a way that never would have happened normally. What could have been a simple scuffle suddenly turns into a life-altering event that forever changes both of their lives.
Director David Mackenzie’s decision to film the movie around the actual festival makes for an utterly organic atmosphere that permeates throughout the whole movie. Haskell Wexler did the same thing in the late 60s with the innovative Medium Cool and it works just as well here. Adding cameras and actors in the festival means that random people occasionally come on screen and interact with the actors in ways that simply weren’t written into the script. It allows the film to become more fluid and natural for both those on screen and in the audience.
It is impossible not to compare this film to the Gen-X masterpiece Before Sunrise. Both films follow two people thrown together in a strange city over the course of a day. The dialogue may not be as intense but it never feels forced or laughable.
The only real problem with the film is that it sometimes tries to do too much in too small a space. By making two bands central characters, the filmmaker saddles himself with the lives of not only Adam and Morello but also the other band members, management, and each of their significant others. While there is some amount of symmetry between all the storylines, by halfway through you get the feeling the entire story might spiral out of control.
That sense of chaos does, at times, work in favor of the story. After all music festivals are rarely ever well organized and with millions of people around it makes sense to allow for multiple subplots.
One of the biggest surprises of the film is the fact that the audience does truly end up caring for both the characters. While both begin the film as antagonists, the moment romance starts to spark between them you begin rooting for their love to blossom.
Given the film’s limited release, there is no doubt that the movie will end up becoming a cult classic once it hits DVD. Not everyone will understand the appeal and the film may even alienate some audiences that do not get the loose structure, but that’s just the sign of a good movie. Tonight You’re Mine goes right up there with Sound of My Voice as one of the best movies of 2012 so far.
The film opens May 11th. Watch the trailer here.