Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Shoplifters Of The World Unite : the night that The Smiths broke up


Any fan of The Smiths, probably THE best British indie rock group in the 1980s’ will recognize that this movie title as being that of one of the band’s greatest hits.  This film directed and co-written by Stephen Kijak is a celebration of how this post-punk foursome that never really had any mainstream success still managed to collect a fanatically loyal following of fans.  

It was led by the enigmatic androgynous Morrissey who wore his left-wing political beliefs on his sleeve and imbued it in his music such as “Meat is Murder” and “The Queen is Dead‘.  In the few years of their existence, The Smiths’ impact on 80’s culture was colossal particularly with people of the same generation.  It, therefore, made perfect sense that Kijak should make a dramedy about the world-changing day that The Smiths announced their Break Up.

The film is set in a backwater of Detroit in 1987, and this group of tight knit friends are about to leave High School and go their own separate ways.  Cleo  (Helena Howard) will be working at a supermarket checkout, but in her head, she will be moving to Paris with her imaginary boyfriend; Billy (Nick Krause) is leaving to join the Army; Sheila (Elena Kampouris)  is going to Community College whilst her boyfriend Patrick (James Bloor) is off to London to become a lounge lizard.  Although Sheila and Patrick have been a couple for some years, however since Patrick insisted on aping his idol Morrissey and become celibate  

Ostensibly they are about to celebrate Billy’s last night in town, but the moment the Smiths BreaK Up became news, the evening turns into a wake/drunken free for all.

Earlier that same day Cleo had been in the local record store where Dean (Ellar Coltrane) the Sales Clerk is so besotted with her, he allows her to shoplift whatever she wants.  Physically he is a dead ringer for the handsome Morrisey and he tells Cleo that he has a plan in how to really mark Break Up in style, but she will have to wait to discover exactly what it is.

Turns out that armed with a  gun and the entire collection of the Smiths music he invades the local radio station and demands they stop playing their usual heavy metal and devote the whole night to playing just The Smiths.  This is anathema to the DJ Full Metal Mickey (Joe Manganiello) but facing the barrel on a gun, he reluctantly obliges.

Thus set against a soundtrack of the best of the Smiths music now playing throughout the town the four-party hard.  A lot of their energy seems to be on getting laid which is slightly complicated by the fact that none of them seem to know which sex they are really attracted too.

Meanwhile as the night turns into day the DJ actually starts to develop a liking to the music he has been forced to play.  On top of that when the Police eventually turn up to ‘liberate him’  Dean is greater by nearly all of his high school pals as a hero.  Especially by Cleo who now realizes that the potential of a real boyfriend is far better than any imaginary one.

Kijak’s delightful comic drama will be a must-see for any Smiths Fan, and for anyone else who wants to see why Morrissey was (still is?) a demi-god for discerning indie-music lovers 


Posted by queerguru  at  16:56



Genres:  dramedy

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