September 23, 2020

1980-04-25 – The Minneapolis Star

1980 04 25 The_Minneapolis_Star_Fri__Apr_25__1980_ 3

The Who’s rock opera
makes better movie

Reviewed bz JON DREAM
Minneapolis ‘ tar Staff Writer

“Quadrophenia” p. ‘ves that The Who understands
the traumas of adolescence better than any other rock
band. The film. based on The Who's 1973 rock opera
recording of the same name. is one of those rare mov-
ies that is superior to its source. The album was good
and the movie is very good.

“Quadrophenia” is not a rock movie. though music
plays an integral role in the picture. It is a drama. sort
of a British version of “American Graffiti," done in a
style reminiscent of “Mean Streets.“ Martin Scor-
sese‘s stark portrayal of the frustrating life of four
voung ltalian-Americans.

“Quadrophenia” is kind of a cumbersome title for a
movie about growing up. The Who chose the name
thinking each band member represented one part of
the protagonist's character. However, Jimmy Cooper
comes off as a schizophrenic rather than a quadro—
phenic (The Who‘s definition of an “extremely volatile
state of mind; a condition of today").

Set in England in 1964. the film tells the story of the
Mods and Rockers, two warring. working-class teen-
age gangs. The Rockers wear black leather jackets.
ride around on motorcycles and like macho music by
the likes of Gene Vincent. The pill-popping Mods wear
natty ties-and-coats and dresses. ride around on motor
scooters and like the arty p0p of the Kinks and others.

On the surface. the groups weren‘t much different
from the Baldies and Greasers in the Twin C ities of
the mid~‘60$.

Jimmy seems hopelessly mired in the Mod culture:
pills. his motor scooter. Mod music and street-fighting
with the Rockers. Those are the only important things
{0 him. His parents ride him for coming in late at
night. His superiors at the ad agency where he is a
messenger chide him for his habitual tardiness. And
Tic can't make it with the girl he wants because she is

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St in Ace. Mark Wing


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ett as Dave and P

always with another guy.

After being arrested in a club-swlnging riot and
booted out of his parents' home. Jimmy becomes dis-
illusioned with his friends. His girl ends up with his
best friend. and in the end. even Ace. a slick Mod he
ldolizes (played by Sting of the rock group the Police).
turns out to be a patsy for the system. Finally. Jimmy
begins freaking out as songs from The Who's
“(§adrophenia" album play in the background.

ritlsh director Franc Roddam. 32. best known in
the United States for making “Dancer" about Dustin
Hoffman's wife. Anne, has done a wonderful job. He
has made a gritty film that captures the emotions of
young peOple in a way that transcends cultural bar-
riers; his movie is as successful at articulating the
frustrations of adolescence as The Who‘s music has
been for 15 years.

Twenty-two-year-old Phil Daniels gives a strong
performance as Jimmy. And, not coincidentally. he
looks like a young Peter Townshend. the guiding light
of The Who.

The supporting cast, which truly makes this movie
seem like it is set in '64, also is solid. Stand-outs are
Mark Wingett as Jimmy's friend Dave with the pork-
pie hat. and Raymond Winstone. one of Jimmy's old
school chums who enters the army and later becomes
a Rocker who is beat up by Jimmy's gang. Regretta-
bly. that potentially fascinating. very human subplot
is never resolved.

If there is any major hurdle preventing “ uadro-
phenia” from being a commercial success. it's t at the
thick British accents of the cast take getting used to.
Nonetheless. the film is a winner that deserves an au-
dience beyond fans of The Who. whose members were
executive producers of the project.

“Quadrophenla.” which is rated R because of nudi-
ty. profanity and violence, opens today at the St. Louis
Park theater.

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hil Daniels as Jimmy in ‘Quadrophenia'