Behind the darkness lies a redemption story in its purest form. Ibiza, drugs, sex, electronic music and black comedy reveal the fateful discovery of what really matters in life. Paul Kaye plays Frankie Wilde, the party-hard DJ. Electro, topless women, motor boats and flashing lights accompany Frankie’s idea of a good time – his reputation throughout Ibiza’s club scene lifts him to the level of a God. The colours, the music, the rhythm and the raised hands open It’s All Gone Pete Tong with flair and a drug-induced union of human euphoria. But before the viewer is swallowed, the protagonist is grounded with what seems like an impossibly tragic twist of fate.
Everything changes when you can’t hear a thing. A DJ’s career is guided by his ears, so imagine the terror that ran through a deafening Frankie Wilde? Filmed as a mockumentary, Paul Kaye’s seemingly true-to-life role demands that he portray the sad dissolution of a complex character, while a series of well-pieced-together interviews discuss the impossibility of his situation with disturbing humour. Wilde goes through hell. After the gradual torment of his ever-worsening condition comes to a close, and after silence has expelled him from his former world, he passes through several years of total abandonment where he turns away from both himself and those around him in insanity-driven solitude. As the interviewees pass their speculations of where their fallen hero may be, turn him into a myth, his madness is shown through a giant cocaine addiction in the form of a badger, and strange attempts at hearing again by padding the walls and shutting out all sound.
In this way, two of three parts of the film are put across. The third part provides the viewer with Wilde’s redemption. A beautiful rediscovery fuelled by the power of rhythm. The emotion of a flamenco dancer. The soft, silent thump of a steady bassline. The unconditional support of a new love. Music re-enters the protagonist’s life in a more honest, heartfelt way than ever before. The techno-industrialists can’t believe it, his return, in their eyes, is almost Christ-like — their own, private second-coming. But with his return, and with the release of his latest – and greatest – album to date, emerges a new man. Someone with open eyes and a grasp on what holds real worth within his life. His rebirth becomes a legend. The deaf music-maker – and imagine the commercial benefits that would have? But Frankie turns away from it all, he goes in search of something else, again resigning from the public, kept alive only by the mouths of the storytellers.
Michael Dowse directs, effectively presenting the DJ’s devastating, but ultimately rewarding fall. Cutting back and forth, from acted-out interviews to dramatization, Dowse presents the viewer with a mock account of a story really worth documenting. There are certainly a few lessons to be found in Pete Tong – illuminating the ultimate redemption, and a self-discovery against all odds. And whether deserved or not, the viewer can’t help but follow Frankie Wilde as one would follow a musical and cultural icon, like Elvis Pressley or Bob Dylan, or a king, a president, a revolutionary…
It’s All Gone Pete Tong at IMDb
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It’s All Gone Pete Tong (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb
It’s All Gone Pete Tong official film website
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