Is 'Svengali' Really The Funniest British Film In Years?

'Svengali' pulls together some of the most popular British actors and comedians for a film that satirises the music industry. At the centre of all this is Dixie, a postman from South Wales played by Jonny Owen who dreams of finding the next big band - until he does. What follows is a classic fish-out-of-water underdog story that sees our Dixie navigate the notoriously fickle music industry.

Svengali Vicky McClure Jonny Owen
Vicky McClure and Jonny Owens star in 'Svengali'

The film also stars Vicky McClure, otherwise known as the queen of independent British cinema. Having made her name in ‘This is England’ and the subsequent spin-offs, she is arguably the headline cast member in a long list of home-grown heroes. 

But for all the talent involved, does Jonny Owen’s film (he writes, stars and produces) hit the mark, or is it a failed attempt to capture a zeitgeist so successfully translated into cinematic folklore? Time to turn to the critics. 

More: check out pictures from 'Svengali'

Olly Richards from Empire Magazine kicks off our roundup, with a solid start. “It is refreshing to watch a film that draws together characters from across the British Isles in a way that is not only watchable, but reasonably well put together too,” he writes. “Its writer/star has the charm and warmth to keep this muso fairy tale on the tracks and there are entertaining spot-the-rocker cameos galore,” writes David Sztypuljak for HeyUGuys.

“The film is full of fun juxtapositions: Dixie’s alluring naivety and geniality contradicts with his dreams of following in the footsteps of the Svengali figures he admires – a theme that Owen follows right the way through,” says The Upcoming’s Theodora Munroe. “Then, there is the stark contrast of living in bohemian London with rural Britain: harsh and rich London compared with the warmth of impoverished Wales. And, lastly, the reality that comes of mixing ambition with love.”

Watch the trailer for Svengali

It’s a bit early to start giving the film Rotten Tomatoes ratings, given that its released at the end of the week (March 21). But the general consensus is that of ‘could do better’. It’s charming, funny and ‘watchable’, as the critics mention, but certainly won’t be a stand out picture in the annals of indie music-movie history.

More: 'Svengali' is a rock and roll comedy for musos.

More: Check out our Vicky McClure pictures gallery.


Tags: Martin Freeman - Vicky McClure - Matt Berry


More Martin Freeman

'Sherlock' Cast "Reduced to Tears" After Being Told Season 4 Plot

Steven Moffat, the creator of BBC drama Sherlock, has set tongues wagging after discussing details of the forthcoming fourth season of the show. Steven Moffat...

Creative Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 [Pictures]

The stars stepped out onto the red carpet for one of the glitziest ceremonies of awards season: the Creative Primetime Emmys.Having previously won for NBC's...

James Corden's Gone All USA: But Which Other Comedy Brits Have Flown Across The Pond?

It looks like British favourite James Corden has successfully sealed his fate as another Brit over on American shores with his appointment as the new...

A Week In Movies: Get On Up Premieres, Cooper Cooks In London, Trailers For Tusk, Mockingjay, The Hobbit And Mad Max

The stars came out for the New York premiere this week of Get on Up, starring Chadwick Boseman as Godfather of Soul James Brown. He...


Film Franchises That Go On Forever

The Hobbit trilogy has been criticised by some viewers for having too little content spread too thinly over the course of too many films. Originally,...

The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014

The San Diego Comic-Con may be over but the buzz surrounding its contents is only just beginning. Showing teasers left, right and centre, the convention...

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

As promised by the release of Smaug from Eribor, war has descended upon Middle Earth and threatens to strip landscape of peace, serenity and beauty....

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the mini-army of dwarves led by Thorin are facing an evermore deadly path in their pursuit of the Lonely Mountain and...



Martin Freeman Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Martin Freeman

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All