As I’m writing this review, I’m sitting here watching Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s the scene where Hulk has just been possessed by Scarlet Witch and is tearing up an entire city. Figuratively, it actually reminds me of DJ Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye), the main character in It’s All Gone Pete Tong. Frankie is literally taking his own life and smashing it to pieces with drugs and insane behavior. The beginning shows a montage of the DJ’s antics as he does strange things like licking toads and coming out to entertain the crowd wearing a crown of thorns.
I started to dislike the guy almost instantly and the film’s choppy, mockumentary-style shooting doesn’t help change one’s opinion as you’re hit with his insensitive wildness fast and hard. Frankie is a mess but not in a fun way. Think of it as watching a deadbeat relative throw his life away. Frankie is loved by most of Ibiza’s population as he is one of their best DJ’s, but I hated his guts for the first portion of the film. As a result, I was hating the film.
Then something happens that turns the film a complete 180. Frankie loses his hearing. Ibiza begins to loathe him as he begins to perform horribly at shows. Frankie loses his immortality and becomes human. And that’s when I truly began to love DJ Frankie Wilde.
Kaye definitely steals the show as DJ Frankie, but is helped along by some pretty funny characters as well. Frank’s manager Max (Mike Wilmot) always seems to be in a state of comical panic as he awaits Frankie’s next big hit. I can’t recall one scene where Max wasn’t in a deep sweat.
When Frankie wasn’t with Max or running from the mascot badger (in his mind) that forced him to do coke, he was trying to use what he had left of his hearing to help other bands make records. Those scenes in particular provide some pretty comedic moments as one band member sourly states that Frankie’s music “sounds like ze kaka.” In another scene of memory, Frankie ties firecrackers to his head and realizes a few moments after they were lit that that was probably a bad idea. He had me cracking up as he is frantically searching for a way to put out the fuses before the firecrackers all go off.
On the downside, the constant replaying of the loss-of-hearing effect (almost like a familiar bell-ringing sound) got old fairly quickly. I understand that it was a necessary effect to put people in the shoes of Frankie, but it was annoying nonetheless. Also, I think the movie would have had even more of an impact had it shown more of how great of a DJ Frankie was before going deaf. Then again, I can understand there might have been a risk of making the film longer than it needed to be.
It’s hard to stay focused during the beginning of It’s All Gone Pete Tong as it feels like the mockumentary is all over the place, but, if you can hang in there, you just might come to like the character and the movie just as much as I did. His personality shines through his lines. At one point, his wife is trying to say something serious to him to which he replies, “It’s brilliant to almost hear that.”
It’s All Gone Pete Tong shares the message that your life doesn’t end when tragedy happens, rather it’s just beginning. It’s when we come to the end of ourselves that we truly start to realize how we can fully make a difference in the world. I can definitely dig that. I give this movie a solid 88.