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Groove

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Groove is an independent feature film set during one night in the San Francisco underground rave scene. It explores the complexities of a uniquely 90s subculture through its many characters, revealing how raving is an opportunity to connect with life or escape from it.

Made in conjunction with various members of the Bay Area rave scene, Groove was filmed at different locations in and around San Francisco, including three weeks in a raw, industrial warehouse. Believing that the only way to accurately portray the rave scene was to involve it, the filmmakers (many of whom are ravers themselves) tapped into the enormous creative energy and talent within the rave community.

On Friday, a single email blips through the internet. The word spreads quickly through the city: the party is on. Saturday evening, 200 people secretly converge at an abandoned San Francisco warehouse. As the sun sets the records start spinning, setting into motion a night that no-one will forget.

Meet David Turner (Hamish Linklater), a Midwest transplant. He moved to the city with aspirations of starting his career as a writer but his hopes have stalled. After four years he finds himself writing instruction manuals for a computer company. Overworked and with little social life, David spends his time alone, his dream of being a novelist a distant memory.

That night, his brother Colin (Denny Kirkwood) invites him to Groove. Colin has a surprise for his new girlfriend, young raver sprite Harmony Stitts (Mackenzie Firgens), and he wants David there. David reluctantly agrees and is shocked when Colin proposes to Harmony at the party. In the ensuing celebration, they take ecstasy and suddenly, David is thrust into the world of the San Francisco underground.

In a chance encounter, David meets long-time New York raver Leyla Heydel (Lola Glaudini) and makes an unlikely connection. Through their budding relationship, they're reminded of a sense of possibility and freedom in their lives they had all but forgotten. But as the party rages on, Colin reveals a deep secret, one that threatens to destroy his relationship with Harmony. When the sun rises the party disappears, and the chaos of the last 12 hours changes the two brothers forever.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Groove image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film rave drama ensemble romance party dance warehouse San Francisco

Persons of interest

  • Chris Ferreira .... Bill Neuman
  • Mackenzie Firgens .... Harmony Stitts
  • Lola Glaudini .... Leyla Heydel
  • Elizabeth Sun .... Maggie McMullen
  • Denny Kirkwood .... Colin Turner
  • Hamish Linklater .... David Turner
  • Dmitri Ponce .... Guy Pritchkin
  • Vincent Riverside .... Anthony Mitchell
  • Ari Gold .... Cliff Rafferty
  • Rachel True .... Beth Anderson
  • Aaron Langridge .... Joe Torres
  • Steve Van Wormer .... Ernie Townsend
  • Wendy Turner-Low .... Lisa Monroe
  • Bradley K. Ross .... Aaron Lubiarz
  • Jeff Witzke .... Neil Simonton
  • Jill Jose .... Monique Adderly
  • Greg Harrison .... Screenwriter
  • Greg Harrison .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Not Human traffic, but this is San Francisco, not Wales.

That takes care of the humour department. Except for one comment that the only openly gay guys are the only ones who don't make it to the party because they spend all their time being stereotypical bitchy queens. I know that there are lots of stereotypical bitchy queens out there in Readerland but filmmakers should know better than to present only that one variety.

On with the review. Groove is equal parts documentary and drama. For those of you who've never encountered a rave before you are presented with a variety of characters whose role it is to be raver newbies. David is the most-followed so his experiences form the backbone of the film. The problem is that the script is for an ensemble. That means there are a lot of people getting screen time. That means David's story gets lost/diluted in the process. This is not to say that the other stories aren't interesting (Colin's tale is actually way more interesting) but having so many unrelated threads makes them difficult to follow.

David's tale: Boy does e, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, boy gets girl. It's nothing spectacular but it does do the whole newbie thing about what e is like and how you should use it the first time (preferably with an experienced, non-using friend). Hamish has a great geeky quality which he transformed to some measure of cool once he was getting off his face.

Colin's tale: Boy does e, boy proposes to girl, boy pashes boy, boy gets really messed up. Now this is a story worth making a film about. There's an old joke that goes, "What's the difference between a straight boy and a gay boy?" - "A six pack of beer and half an eccy." If you get a person loose enough all sorts of interesting things come out. In Colin's case is a seriously repressed sexuality. His obviously long-term battle with himself makes him a dark and fascinating character. Denny gets right into the guts of the role, going from "more outgoing brother" to "lost soul" in the course of the film. Naturally enough he's much sexier when Colin lets his sexuality out of the closet. The pashing scene is one of the best screen kisses of all time. He gets a Nomination for that.

Ernie's tale: Boy throws rave. If you ever wanted to know how they happen, watch this guy. He's been edited pretty heavily but the things he does are the things they do. Ernie is a sincerely caring guy who just wants to make people happy. He has no desire to make a few bucks from the punters beyond covering expenses. He wants everyone to be safe. Hmmm... maybe there are some guys like that but there are also a lot who are only in it for the money. Free water at a rave? Never heard of it. Still, Steve has no trouble filling Ernie's Royals.

Leyla's tale: Girls meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy, girl gets boy, girl gets redemption. This is the cautionary story, the dark side of the force. She's been everywhere, done everything and has no idea what it means. David's middle-class, white bread world (which, of course, everyone is seeking) is her grounding. Together they can rescue each other from the numbness of their existence. Lola looks really over the hill. She's young but you know the instant you see her that she's nothing if not experienced. She's perfect for the part and has some great moments with Hamish.

All in all, Groove is the kind of flick that young people can get off on. Old people will be reminded that they're old and even though they might be able to delude themselves into thinking that they can do all that stuff when really, they can't. They're just too old. If you think you're young it's an unpleasant and salutary experience.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, dual layer
  • Features:
    • Commentary: Greg Harrison (director), Producer and Cinematographer
    • Deleted scenes
    • Featurettes: Behind-the-scenes, Auditions, Camera test
    • Isolated soundtrack
    • Music video: Heaven sent by Bedrock
    • Photo gallery
    • Picture disc
    • Talent profiles
    • Trailers: movie
  • Languages: English, German
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9 enhanced
  • Subtitles: English, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Bulgarian, German, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Arabic

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Drug use)

Surveillance time

84 minutes (1:24 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD rental: 11 April 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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