Review: ‘Tonight You’re Mine’ Is Thin, One-Note and Hard to Sit Through

By  · Published on May 12th, 2012

David Mackenzie’s Tonight You’re Mine offers an adequate travelogue depiction of Scotland’s T in the Park music festival, with a minuscule, tired story mixed in. Shot amid the real event, the movie’s best and most noteworthy moments are the montages, wide shots and other scenic depictions of the throngs cavorting around the various stages, tents and camping areas. The rest of it is flagrantly ridiculous junk, about feuding rockers Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Morello (Natalia Tena), who are handcuffed together by a black musician bent on teaching the white protagonists a lesson, fulfilling all the requirements of what Spike Lee calls the “magical Negro.”

Yet, in one of the great all-time cinematic surprises, Adam and Morello grow fond of each other and begin to relish being chained together. Their significant others, who are also at the festival, struggle to make sense of things. This leads to a lot of spectacular tedium, as the characters mumble halfhearted dialogue, frolic around in awkward situations and occasionally tepidly bicker.

The screenplay, by Thomas Leveritt, jumps through serious hoops to keep the characters chained together. It has them behave in a collective fashion that’s completely opposed to the way real humans, let alone real musicians attending the festival for professional reasons, would handle such a predicament.

The cast presents a scrubbed-clean, painstakingly picturesque vision of what actual musicians look and sound like. The characters are one-note clichés and the actors don’t do much with them, though it’d be hard for even the most accomplished Oscar winner to find his way through the total, all-encompassing ambivalence displayed here.

The brief snippets of actual performances are rousing and well-shot, and the movie does capture the ambiance and experience of a music festival. If you’ve always longed to experience T in the Park, or Coachella, or Bonnaroo, you could do worse than spending 80 minutes with Tonight You’re Mine. But if you’re after an interesting cinematic experience about convincing characters facing some sort of meaningful human dilemma, it’d be best to keep on looking.

The Upside: A cool travelogue/verite look at the T in the Park musical festival.

The Downside: Boring characters and a thoroughly unconvincing, forced, meet cute-driven plot.

On the Side: Skip the movie and check out the soundtrack, which includes top-notch performances of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” “Tainted Love” and others. The whole thing would be better had director David Mackenzie cut the characters and story and just focused on the performances, anyway.