Recently added to Netflix Instant, Tonight You’re Mine is director David Mackenzie’s other film from 2011 that’s not the one that involves Ewan McGregor and Eva Green getting down while the world’s population steadily begins to lose each of their five senses. Originally released under the title You Instead, the decidedly lo-fi Tonight You’re Mine was filmed on location over five days at Scotland’s massive T in the Park Festival, sort of a UK version of Coachella (but one that comes off as decidedly more clean and decent). An eighty-minute-long charmer, the film was barely seen when it finally got released in the United States and it made less than six thousand dollars during its very brief and very limited release in May of 2012. Basically, if you didn’t happen to catch it back then, you’re far from the only one.
Short on narrative and long on charm, the film mixes scripted scenes and improvised adventures to deliver one hell of a sweet little love story (set to music, naturally). The film centers on Adam, the pretty boy lead singer of the dorky-hip The Make, and Morello, the tough-as-nails leader of punkish girl group The Dirty Pinks (yes, the meaning of their name is addressed swiftly and amusingly). Morello and her girls don’t suffer fools, so we when they spot Adam and his bandmate Tyko filming a spot for a local music show in a tiny car that’s apparently run out of gas, they can’t help but poke fun at them (“poke fun” meaning “jostle that tiny car they’re in”). The respective stars of their bands (it’s important to note that neither of their bands are tremendously huge stars, though The Make’s gig is on a far bigger stage than The Dirty Pinks), Adam and Morello get into a tiff that’s broken up by a musical prophet who shows up in spotless clothing (despite the rainy conditions at the sprawling fest), distracts them with some histrionics on the power of music, handcuffs them together, and promptly zips off.
Yes, it’s obvious to anyone who has ever seen a film about two members of the opposite sex who tiff and tatter with each other from the get-go what’s going to happen here, but as Adam and Morello attempt to make it through a night chained up to each other, you’d be hard-pressed not to find yourself thoroughly charmed by the energy and chemistry on screen.
Not sold yet? What if we told you it stars Osha the Wilding from Game of Thrones and Brewis the total idiot from Attack the Block?
Natalia Tena and Luke Treadaway lead the tiny production as Morello and Adam, and the stars of such varied projects as the Harry Potter films, Clash of the Titans, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, and About a Boy both come compete with musical experience and just gobs of chemistry and charm. Again, this film is just charming
I was one of a handful of people who saw the film back at SXSW 2011, and while I’ll never know if it was the exhaustion or the beer or the relief of being in a mostly empty theater or even that slim runtime, but Tonight You’re Mine unexpectedly won me over. At the time, I wrote an effusive review of the film that included lines like that it “captures the effervescence and madness of one of the world’s biggest music festivals” and a final decree that it “does not necessarily surprise in terms of plot, it does surprise when it comes to just how delightful, joyous, and charming it is.” I even called the basic set-up of the film a “meet-cuffed conceit,” but please don’t hold that against the production.
Frankly, Tonight You’re Mine can be cheesy as all get out, but it’s also a film that’s refreshingly free of cynicism that relies heartily on a smidge of magical happenings (an impeccably dressed man randomly shows up and handcuffs two people together because of the power of music?) and complete suspension of disbelief (it took them that long to find suitable tools at one of the world’s biggest music festivals?), and I mean that as an actual compliment. If you’ve got eighty minutes to spare for a hidden gem packed with jams (and charm!), you’d do far worse for yourself than to give Tonight You’re Mine a watch. And good luck getting the songs out of your head.
The film’s trailer:
The music video for The Make’s insanely catchy “You Instead”:
Tonight You’re Mine is currently available on Netflix Instant.