Based on the biography of Northern Ireland record shop and label owner Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations is a fun and energetic movie thanks to a witty script, assured direction and a terrific central performance from Richard Dormer.
Belfast, mid-seventies, and though the last thing you would advise someone to do is open a record shop on Great Victoria Street, that's what former reggae lover Terri Hooley (Dormer) does when he discovers punk. Terri goes about flogging punk records to the kids and, when approached by local bands, starts the record label Good Vibrations, signing the likes of Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones. However, time spent at work and incoming bills causes difficulties at home with wife Jodie Whittaker.
Some movies hope to get one wonderful moment that will stick in your memory forever but Barros D'Sa and Leyburn come up with two. And both of them are all about Richard Dormer's face. The first moment is Terri at his first punk gig; caught up in the raw energy that's bouncing off the walls, Dormer's reaction to the music, helped by a great use of slow motion and a decision to stay solely on Dormer for what seems like forever, is spine-tingling stuff. The second moment is when he's in the studio with The Undertones and he's handed the headphones to listen to 'the song' they recorded earlier. Dormer's face, we imagine, is what John Peel's must have looked like the first time he heard 'that song' too. Headphones still on, Dormer spins to Kerr Logan's Fergal Sharkey, who gives him a goofy thumbs up through the glass - 'it's good, innit?'
Barros D'Sa and Leyburn culled some impressive performances from a young cast (especially Rupert Grint) for their 2008 debut Cherrybomb, and do the same with the peripheral characters that make up the various group members and scenesters hanging about the shop here. But the movie is all about the wonderful Richard Dormer (Game Of Thrones), whose ferrety mannerisms leave an impression.
You don't have to be steeped in the Northern Ireland punk scene to enjoy Good Vibrations so don't let that put you off enjoying what is a fun and rewarding experience.