Teen angst, eh? Quadrophenia does it proud. It's London in the '60s, and two of youth's more distinct factions, both of them bred on banality, set about making their mark on the world. They do this with fists and bikes. The Mods, lovers of the Parka and Lambretta, like beating up the Rockers, and the Rockers like beating up the Mods.
Jimmy (Phil Daniels) escapes into a modish, Modish way of life because - as must happen in cult youth films - his folks "just don't understand". He also - - as must happen in cult youth films - - seeks solace in the company of girls, and one fair strumpet in particular. But Steph (the pocket-sized Leslie Ash) isn't the sort of lass who goes for just any troubled/disillusioned guy, and her ignoring him at a club sends Jimmy over the edge: watched by Sting (whose acting debut sees the Police front man swinging his arms from side to side in a rough approximation of dancing), Phil throws himself off the balcony and into the crowd. Henceforth, Leslie is his...
This is the anarchic verve, cleverly harnessed by director Franc Roddam, that established Quadrophenia as a "youth cult classic", and that raw energy is still tangible today. But is a re-release justified?
Yes, it is. Realism suffers at the hands of The Who's weird storyline, and some will find the near-endless moralising too much to stomach, but without this sort of find-the-message mentality, teen films just wouldn't be teen films - and Quadrophenia is definitely the kind that sets out to inspire the nation's youth. Whether it succeeds depends on how much you need to be inspired, but what this punk-era curio does deliver is the heady smell of teen spirit.Danny Wallace
If you can't follow the off-the-wall storyline or turn a blind eye to the dated subject matter, why not think of Quadrophenia as a retro Trainspotting? Roddam's raw direction is excellent, as is Daniels' scowling Jimmy. Worth watching just to see well-known TV and pop stars beating the crap out of each other.
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