Killing Bono Review

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The story of two brothers (Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan) who dream of rock stardom, but find themselves eclipsed by old schoolmates U2.


Based on Neil McCormick’s memoir, this tale of stolen dreams and thwarted ambitions is more Zooropa than Joshua Tree. Neil (Ben Barnes) cons his brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) out of joining a rival school band who go onto become U2, the former subsequently forcing the latter on a self-destructive mission to be bigger than Bono and co. Hence, there are overwrought fraternal fracas, obligatory bad gigs and groupies (Krysten Ritter), a camp landlord (the late Pete Postlethwaite), meetings with an unscrupulous A&R man (Peter Serafinowicz), run-ins with Irish heavies, and a last-reel chance to support U2 at a big homecoming gig. The rise of U2 is neatly charted against the McCormicks’ flailing around and Martin McCann makes an uncanny Bono, but it lacks charm and laughs, never finding the right tone to make the plight of desperate wannabees poignant.

A clever idea that can't find its feet on the bigger stage.