Nick Hamm's rock'n'roll comedy Killing Bono fails to hit its targets
Ben Barnes, Martin McCann and Pete Postlethwaite star in U2-envying film
Killing Bono – it’s probably a thought more than a few have entertained over the years. Whether Neil McCormick ever did is another matter. Author of the exuberant rock memoir I Was Bono’s Doppelgänger, aspiring musician McCormick grew up in Ireland in the shadow of schoolmates Paul Hewson and Dave Evans – aka U2’s Bono and The Edge.
You can probably already see where this is going: U2 go on to become the biggest rock group of the planet, while McCormick (Prince Caspian star Ben Barnes) and his brother Ivan (Misfits’ Robert Sheehan) struggle to get a record deal in both Dublin and London. It doesn’t help that Bono (an uncanny Martin McCann) swings by occasionally to offer some sage advice.
Despite veteran scribes Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais behind the script, director Nick Hamm (The Hole) never strikes the right tone. The McCormicks’ encounter guns and gangs, lending the film an Ealing Comedy flavour without the laughs. In the end, you’re left wanting to see a film about U2’s rise, rather than one about two mediocre chancers. Oh, and as the last film made by Pete Postlethwaite – playing the McCormicks’ gay landlord – it’s hardly a fitting tribute.
General release from Friday 1 April.