D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Directed by Franc Roddam.
Starring Phil Daniels, Mark Wingett, Philip Davis, Leslie Ash and Sting.
Quadrophenia is a classic British film about youth revolt and loosely based upon the 1973 rock opera of the same name by The Who. The film follows a Mod named Jimmy (Daniels) who finds himself disillusioned with his life, his job and the aspirations his parents have for him. Trying to make sense of his life he finds outlets for his teenage angst by partying with his friends, taking amphetamines and riding his scooter.
On a bank holiday the Mods all head down to Brighton on their scooters where they clash with their rivals, the Rockers, as a wave of young people flood the seaside town looking for a good time. Jimmy’s crush Steph (Ash) is the aim of his trip and the two of them slip down and alleyway, but find themselves caught up in a melee that sees Jimmy get arrested. He finds himself encapsulated by the Mod that everyone admires, Ace Face (Sting), who seems to be a main instigator of the trouble.
Jimmy returns to London to be thrown out by his Mother when she finds his amphetamine stash and he quits his job. When he finds out that Steph is now the girlfriend of his mate Dave he spends more money on drugs and trashes his scooter. He makes his way back to Brighton on the train in order to relive the previous weekends fun only to find his new idol, Ace Face, is a bellboy in a big Brighton hotel. His dream is destroyed. In one final act he steals Ace Face’s scooter and makes his way to Beachy Head where he drives right for the cliff edge.
Quadrophenia sums up the frustration felt by much of Britain’s youth during the 60s as the fun began to stop and life seemed to suck. The film is not all dark and depressing though and the characters all searching for fun and fuelled by a killer soundtrack ensure that is so.
Quadrophenia is a film you must see before you die because it is a British classic and the Human Traffic of its day. Teenage angst, frustration and disillusionment in a country that seems to be going to the wall are all feelings that are huge at this moment in time and Quadrophenia, despite being nearly 30 years old, may just hold more resonance with audiences now than it has done at any other time since its release.