Neil McCormick was a childhood friend of the members of U2. Like Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam, he had big dreams of being a rock star. But his path took a different turn than theirs.
McCormick wrote about living the life of Bono's doppelganger in his book Killing Bono, upon which this film is based.
The book is hilarious, smart, sentimental—even sad at times—but very satisfying. The movie is some of those things, but not all.
First of all, Ben Barnes does a fantastic job of portraying McCormick. As someone who has spent a few hours with the real Neil, I can safely say that Ben captures his essence and energy well. He sort of looks like him too.
The rest of the cast is fine (though Martin McCann could've dialed down his Bono a bit; especially in the earlier scenes), and overall the characters are well-drawn. It was especially nice to witness the final performance of Pete Posthelwaite, who the world sadly lost earlier this year.
The screenwriters took great liberties with the truth, which is also fine, except for one scene that featured a gun. It was unnecessary. The dots that your brain can't help but connect while you're watching it (especially with an earlier reference to Lennon's murder) take the film to a much darker place than it needs to go.
That said, at the end of the day, Neil's story is a fun ride, and the fashion in which it's told here is pleasurable in the simplest way.
If you go in for a U2/McCormick history lesson, you'll most likely be disappointed. But if you enter wanting to have a laugh at the expense of a relatable hero who is his own worst enemy, you'll leave with a smile.
Labels: comedy, Killing Bono, Neil McCormick, Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF, Tassoula