Groove review

Remember Human Traffic? Here's the American version - - a couple of years late perhaps, but still an engaging look at the Frisco rave scene, featuring enough banging tunes and authentic detail to excuse a plot so thin it could be Victoria Beckham in disguise.

Shot on location in only 24 days, Greg Harrison's debut feature follows a well-worn path with its group of twentysomethings who come together for one long night of dancing, drug-taking and soul-searching, so it's no surprise to find Groove's pill-popping protagonists emerging from their all-nighter enriched by their experiences.

What is new (for American cinema, at least) is Harrison's refreshingly open and non-judgemental approach to the chemical generation. You'd be forgiven for expecting a load of patronising Hollywood moral messages about the dangers of dope or the long-term effects of loud, repetitive beats on the eardrums. How reassuring, then, to find that Harrison abstains from preaching and allows his film to unfold organically without sacrificing a character or two on the altar of lazy dramatics.

A pity, then, that the actual characters couldn't be more diverting. From the pair of bickering queens (Jeff Witzke and Bradley Ross) unable to find the party, to the young lovers (Mackenzie Firgens and Denny Kirkwood) whose relationship is threatened by his realisation that he might be gay, the characterisation deals mostly in tired clichés. Harrison tries to address this problem by leap-frogging erratically from one plot strand to another, but it never really works as a device to make these subplots either interesting or credible.

So forget about the story and enjoy the music, with John Digweed's last-minute cameo providing ample reason to crank things up to fever pitch. The guy can't act to save his life, but he certainly knows how to fill a floor and keep it dancing `till dawn.

""This shit ain't over till the last record spins!"" says one of Groove's party animals, and it's a line that sums up the infectious energy of Greg Harrison's offbeat indie debut. The soundtrack is much better than the screenplay, though.

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