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Good Vibrations (2012) Online

Good Vibrations (2012) Online
Original Title :
Good Vibrations
Genre :
Movie / Biography / Drama / Music
Year :
Directror :
Lisa Barros D'Sa,Glenn Leyburn
Cast :
Jodie Whittaker,Liam Cunningham,Richard Dormer
Writer :
Colin Carberry,Glenn Patterson
Type :
Time :
1h 43min
Rating :

A chronicle of Terri Hooley's life, a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast's punk-rock scene.

Good Vibrations (2012) Online

In 1970s Belfast, Terri Hooley is an idealistic rocker who finds himself caught in the middle of Northern Ireland's bitter Troubles. Seeing a parallel in the chaos with Jamaica, Hooley opens a record shop, Good Vibrations, to help bring reggae music to his city to help encourage some harmony. However, Hooley soon discovers a new music genre, punk rock, and is inspired by its youthful vitality to become an important record producer and promoter of the local scene. In doing so, Hooley would struggle both with the industry's realities and his chaotic personal life that threaten to consume him. However, he would also be instrumental in creating an alternative Irish community that would bridge his land's religious and social rivalries with an art no one expected.
Credited cast:
Jodie Whittaker Jodie Whittaker - Ruth
Liam Cunningham Liam Cunningham - Davy
Richard Dormer Richard Dormer - Terri Hooley
Andrew Simpson Andrew Simpson - Getty
Killian Scott Killian Scott - Ronnie Matthews
Adrian Dunbar Adrian Dunbar - Andy
Kerr Logan Kerr Logan - Feargal Sharky
Dylan Moran Dylan Moran - Pat
David Wilmot David Wilmot - Eric
Karl Johnson Karl Johnson - George
Niall Cusack Niall Cusack - Bank Manager
Ruth McCabe Ruth McCabe - Mavis
Conor MacNeill Conor MacNeill - Schoolboy Executive
Ryan McParland Ryan McParland - Fangs
Mark Ryder Mark Ryder - Greg Cowan

In the first music recording studio scene in the movie when the actor Richard Dormer playing Terri Hooley manages to get a slot to record the single Big Time by Rudi there is an accordion player in the recording booth in the background. The accordion player is the real Terri Hooley in a cameo appearance.

Irish band Snow Patrol contributed to the film's budget. They also helped with a crucial scene involving 2,000 extras by advertising the directors' need for extras on their website. They said anyone who showed up dressed as punks to their upcoming gig would get in free.

Michael Fassbender, Robert Sheehan, Steve Coogan and Bronagh Gallagher were at various times reported to have been cast in this project.

Writer Glenn Patterson got the idea for the film when he bumped into Terri Hooley in a bar in Belfast and was entranced by the stories he told about his past.

Richard Dormer wore a prosthetic eye without a pinhole so he could see as Terri Hooley sees (Hooley lost an eye as a child).

The directing duo would largely work in separate disciplines: Lisa Barros D'Sa spent more time with the actors while Glenn Leyburn would concentrate on the more technical side of directing.

While Terri Hooley may have been a colorful character on the Belfast punk scene, he was never noted for his business acumen. The only record he backed that was a hit was "Teenage Kicks" by The Undertones - he sold the rights to this song for just £500 (in cash) and a signed photograph of 60s band The Shangri-Las. He never got the photo.

Richard Dormer was in consideration for playing Terri Hooley pretty much from the start of the film's inception.

The decision to film with anamorphic lenses was to partly reflect Terri Hooley's impaired vision and how he sees the world differently from most people.

User reviews



It's the morning after the night before, and I'm feeling more than a little fragile as I may have overdone the celebrating a bit. I very rarely drink at all, but I got caught up in all the reminiscing and nostalgia last night. My head is splitting and I'm croaking like frog, yeah! As you've probably already guessed it was a killer night.

The'Good Vibrations' movie has been a longtime coming - jeez, the film has been in the pipeline for around 13 years and it's been over two years since the excellent 10 minute fund raising pilot film was made and then screened one Sunday afternoon in Feb 2010 at the 'QFT'. Understandably I couldn't wait to see this film.

I'm absolutely delighted that the 'Good Vibrations' film is here at last, and not only is the movie making its high profile red carpet debut it's also launching the 'Belfast Film Festival. For the first time ever there's a big screen erected especially for the premiere in the historic Ulster Hall which is celebrating its own 150th birthday this year. There was TV coverage all through the glorious day on the local news bulletins. which is not surprising as this is the true (ish) story of a most unlikely Belfast anti hero & the hottest ticket in town for quite some time. Requests to attend the premiere far out stripped supply so two more screenings were quickly arranged (& sold out) to cope with the overwhelming demand.

It was great to catch up again with the ex punks / Harp Bar regulars from that time as we were the kids that lived a confrontational and exciting lifestyle during a very dangerous time. We did hang out in the Good Vibrations shop, we pilfered the posters from the staircase wall, and we did buy our 45's, fanzines etc etc from the man of the moment himself.

The writers and producers totally understood from the get-go just how important this movie was going to be to a generation of kids who stood together studded shoulder to shoulder before and alongside 'Terri Hooley' kicking against the pricks, they treated Terri and the punk's tale with empathy, respect and some very dark humour. Certain scenes in the movie were laugh out loud, while others like Gordi Owens visiting the shop for the first-time and then the subsequent 'Rudi' gig in The Pound just lifted my heart, it was so vivid and evocative of that great time. The sinister side was Terri's beating by two skinheads, which was very realistic, vicious and hard to watch gritty film-making.

Now the important question everyone is asking "did the 'Good Vibrations' film live up to all the hype & expectation?" Of course it did, and as you'd expect it has an exceptional soundtrack.

There was a long and well deserved standing ovation for all the main players who were all brought on stage together and seemed genuinely taken back & moved by the ecstatic reaction to their little independent film which is now set to go global. Richard Dormer is a revelation, he is so realistic and believable. He actually does Terri better than Terri himself does, and if justice is done this will be recognised as an award winning performance by the movie industry movers & shakers.

My son Steven ($$) and I can't thank Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn, David Holmes & Chris Martin enough for giving us the opportunity (even though we weren't actors) to participate in the film, they are four really talented and very nice people, we are very grateful indeed. '$$' and his pal Chris Smith (plus my authentic punk era 'Rudi' logo emblazoned leather jacket) got the chance to reprise their roles from the original pilot film, only this time on the hallowed Ulster Hall stage. '$$' also spent a very long day back in September 2011 down in Dundalk filming his part as the 'Rural Punk Kid', which is in the finished movie. I was more than happy to be in there as my teenage punky self in a 1979 'Something Else' TV clip with the real 'Rudi' and to be included in the end credits vintage punk photo reel.

Yeah! I've really only commented on the musical aspects of the film here because of word limits, but Terri's non punk private & personal life during this time period is also featured heavily throughout.

Congratulations to everyone involved with 'Good Vibrations', you've delivered a movie we can all be proud of.

For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of meeting 'Mr Hooleygan' he is a real one off character, a storytelling socialist press darling anarchist local legend, and possibly one of the worst business-men ever. But through thick & thin and with eternal optimism he has kept the 'Good Vibrations' name alive as a legendary brand. The actual 'GV' record shop still exists and resides in its current form on Royal Avenue in Belfast City Centre, and rumour has it the record label is set to return. The fact that regardless of the location he's still out there doing it 36 years later is his two fingered salute to the world, because he's never let the bastards grind him down.

31.5.12 was the real celebration. 'God Save Terri Hooley'.


War, poverty, desolation.

When everything looks dismal and negative, how can one escape and persevere? Through music of course.

Terri Hooley had the answer to the misery of his time. By opening a record shop and encouraging locals to create new music he provided an antidote to the gloom and became instrumental in establishing the Belfast punk scene.

Some thought he was mad, but creativity and madness go together and without any regard for consequences he just stormed ahead driven not by materialistic ambition but out of love for music.

An inspiring bio faithfully brought to the big screen, that effortlessly brought a much needed smile to the audience.


'It didn't matter what color your hair was, or whether you were a Protestant or a Catholic, it just mattered that you were a punk.' This was and probably still is the motto in life of Terri Hooley, the man who inspired the film Good Vibrations directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, whose screening was occasioned by the British film festival.

We are introduced in the atmosphere of the 70s by a number of newsreels of the period. While the flower power, pop, hippie movements were winning over much of the world with their message of peace and non-violence and with their music times were tough for Northern Ireland where the religious conflict entered in a violent phase which was going to leave more then 3000 people dead on all sides. Terri Hooley comes from a political involved family, his father was an idealistic Communist, and Terri loses an eye as a kid in a hate act. His great passion is however music, and with music he tries to bridge the gaps between communities, to bring together people around good and beauty, to what should be normality in a world of conflict and violence. And then the opportunity shows up, as he discovers the young people trying to escape the constraints of the society but also of the conventional culture and express themselves and their feelings in in the visceral and straight roughness of punk music. Hooley will help the emerging Northern-Irish punk bends record and distribute their music, and transform Belfast in one of the punk capitals of the world. Suddenly the city known in the news only for conflict and violence becomes a point of cultural interest, a stage for new and innovative music which crosses communities, religions, and haircuts.

Good Vibration is a simple and direct film about the power of music, about the capacity of doing good in evil times, about the beauty and necessity of escapism. Actor Richard Dorner draws a passionate portrait of a man who lives for music, who believes that music can bridge and heals. It is not an idealized portrait, as family life falls victim to Hooley's passion, and this aspect is not neglected. It's not a perfect film, some of the supporting characters could have been developed for example, but overall it's, well, a film that passes good vibrations. And there is a lot of music of course, I have never been a fan of punk, but I may become one.

According to the news a few months ago Terri Hooley was attacked and abused in his neighborhood in Belfast. Even if 30 years after the troubles the situation in Norther Ireland is much better than it was, healing and reconciliation may have their chance, sequels of the past still show up and the balance is still fragile. The Good Vibrations shop of Terri Hooley opened and closed a few times. Life has ups and downs, but good sometimes prevails.


Although I was born in Belfast, this occurred in the mid-70's so I really knew very little of the people and events in this film, even if I knew the music. I'm not really a punk fan either, but it was the country connection that made me interested in watching the film. The story is sort of based on reality, although of course I think a lot of it is rather simplified for the sake of telling a good story. Terri Hooley (so spelt as he only has one eye) loves his music and at a time when Northern Ireland is splitting down the middle along religious lines, he opens a record store selling reggae and the like. Through this he is put in contact with the punk scene and becomes an unexpected leader to bring it to greater attention.

The main thing the film does very well is capture the sense of place and time; the bits of the film I recognise are instantly so and the rest it delivers so convincingly that one goes along with it and really feels it. The sets, costumes and locations are a big part of it as they capture the 70's real well, but the use of music is the real impact. I'm not a big punk fan but the music throughout the film worked very well and I liked that it even held back its biggest track until that famous moment that Peel played it twice. The story around the music is engaging and it touches on quite a few things but really it is about the energy and passion for it and in this regard Dormer is strong in the lead.

One of several Game of Thrones cast in the film, Dormer's energy is infectious even if his flawed character is evident, he leads the viewer into the passion really well. He is well supported by many unknown faces who do great jobs while also having plenty of recognizable faces kicking around – although Moran, Cunningham and others have not too much to do. The direction of the film is really good and the film has a great look – even when it is in dark, chaotic bars, it still looks clear and crisp.

It isn't a perfect film but it does tell an engaging personal story with energy and passion. The music and sense of place drive the film while the infectious and engaging performances add a lot. Very enjoyable film for what it does well.



I suppose the first two questions that occur when thinking about a biopic review are "Does the subject deserve a biopic?" and "Can it be told in such a fashion that it has a universal appeal?". In the case of Good Vibrations, the second feature from directorial team Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa, the answer is a resounding "Yes!!". Telling the story of record shop/label owner Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations starts with the young Hooley losing an eye at the business end of an arrow. His world changes instantly. The first song he hears on the way to the hospital is Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light". The film continues to follow an equally dark and humorous tone.

At the height of the troubles in Belfast, Hooley decides to open a record shop in what was The Most Bombed Street In Belfast. There was some stiff competition for that title at the time. It is at this point that the film, and indeed its subject, really takes flight. Hooley had seen his myriad of friends separate and divide into two sides. He felt part of neither. On seeing the punk band Rudi performing at the Pound bar in Belfast, he realised that the emerging Punk scene was as oblivious to religious divide as he was. This was his calling.

As the film documents his grand business plan, love and marriage, fatherhood and Teenage Kicks in an ever increasing round of brandies and Guinness, Hooley appears to be on the cusp on greatness. But ultimately, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a trait of the one- eyed anarchist.

Good Vibrations succeeds on a number of levels. The script, by writers Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry, is pacey, natural and expresses the humour of Belfast and its inhabitants where others have tried and failed. David Holmes soundtrack is dizzying as it careers from Girl-groups, through Reggae and of course, to Punk, and is as biographical as the film itself. The music is the man and vice versa.

But top credit must surely go to Richard Dormer as Hooley. Already familiar with playing complex and arguably insane characters (he portrayed Alex Higgins in his self-penned one- man-show, the brilliant Hurricane), he inhabits the role with convincing ease, from Hooleys unusual gait to the mild campness of many Northern Irish men, a product of too many hours at the mothers apron strings while their fathers worked to provide.

The look of the film is worth mentioning. The colour palette is spot-on. Not in a 'cinema 1970s' fashion but the earthy browns and greens add a realistic quality to the film. And yes, the Undertones really did dress like their mothers still bought their clothes for them. There are so many scenes that will remain with me forever. Hooleys epiphanic Rudi gig, the beautifully played scene when he slips on the headphones to hear *that* song for the first time and the very subtle hint at his "I punched John Lennon" story. But its not all larks and laughs. The central story of his marriage to Ruth, played with a deft touch by Attack The Block's Jodie Whittaker, is such a tragedy of circumstance that it could get a tear out of a stone. And it did with me…


I visited Belfast a few years ago and was horrified to see the Wall still standing between Protestant and Catholic parts of the city. A cafe owner told me that until recent years the CBD had to be closed down at night because it was unsafe. I welcomed a movie focusing on the Troubles. I need to know more about it. I love this film. I don't think the film even says what religion or politics Terri Hooley, the record store owner, hails from, because it's irrelevant. He treats people as he finds them. He simply hates violence. As Hooley, Richard Dormer gives a perfect portrayal of a man who is almost aggressively determined to be a peace lover and to follow his passion for music and community. Even though he doesn't get on with his crotchety old father, a communist would-be politician, the father oddly showed Terri a great example in following his own path, being true to himself and standing up to ridicule. Just watching the senseless gang and police violence and explosions, most of it shown to us from actual file news footage, is enough to make Terri realise that music is the way to escape, and to rise above it all, and he brings others along for the ride. Punk is an unlikely vehicle for his vision, but he realises that all these downtrodden youths around him are just like him -- sick of the stupid tit for tat going on and looking for a way to express themselves, socialise and even experience joy. It's a gritty film. In every frame someone is drinking and smoking heavily and committing crimes against fashion. Terri is hopeless with money, and not so great to his wife, but in the final scenes, you realise what heroic things he did achieve. This is even better than The Commitments in that it's more rooted in reality and it rings true in a lot of ways.


This is a biopic about Terri Hooley, the owner of Good Vibrations record shop and record label. His biggest claim to fame was in getting The Undertones seminal single Teenage Kicks to DJ John Peel. Considering that this became Peel's favourite song of all time, this is something of note. I hadn't heard of Hooley, or Good Vibrations but this isn't too surprising seeing as – aside from The Undertones who were only involved with him briefly – the other punk bands on his label were very minor players such as The Outcasts and Rudi. It's probably fair to say that the movie overstates the significance of Hooley and of Belfast as a punk capital.

Nevertheless, this is still a good film. It successfully illustrates how punk rock served a different purpose in Belfast compared to most other places. It happened during the height of The Troubles and music was a means of bringing people together from both sides of the fence, while the youthful anger of punk rock tapped into something very relevant in a population living in grim times with the fear of violence a constant situation. To help give a better feel for the times there are actual newsreels from the period spliced into the story. Although the politics always hover in the background and never really move into the central ground of the story. This is above all a story about the love of music and its power to overcome wider concerns. Although, admittedly it failed to bring an end to the civil war, seeing as it lasted for a further twenty years.

The story is a fairly standard feel-good biopic with a little bit of adverse drama thrown in about two thirds of the way in. In fairness, it's only being true to its source material which is fairly slight to begin with. The period setting is captured quite well in its beige horror although there were some (very) dodgy wigs on display. This will connect most with folks who remember the punk times, especially ones who were in Belfast at the time. But it is a good film about a minor piece of music history.


"When punk rock ruled over Ulster, nobody ever had more excitement and fun. Between the bombings and shootings, the religious hatred and the settling of old scores, punk gave everybody a chance to LIVE for one glorious moment."

Uncle Joe Strummer.

Punk Rock and Punk Rockers have always been misunderstood. Back during the original wave that began in 1976 it was thought punks wanted to kill the queen and burn down your villages, so even though some ill informed (re: ill educated) principals courted controversy, the spirit of punk rock, its ideals and reasons for being, got lost in the mix of the media frenzies and drug deaths et al. Many films and documentaries have been made over the years, some worthwhile, others not so, but all in an effort to either correct the misconceptions of punk rock, or invite interest into a genre of music that made waves that are still being felt today. Good Vibrations the movie is the embodiment of what it was really all about.

The story concerns how Terri Hooley (played by a superb Richard Dormer) believed that music could make a difference, and this even as a soul destroying Civil War raged out on the streets of Belfast. He opened a record shop and formed his own independent record label (the Good Vibrations of the title), and then one day he stumbled on a movement, punk kids who just didn't care about sectarianism, race, creed or colour, they united as one with a love of music, of music with attitude and no hidden agendas. It ticked every box of Hooley's world, forcing him to beg the question of where have these boys been all his life?

I would like to report a Civil War outside!

The 1970s backdrop of the Northern Ireland "Troubles" strikes all the right emotional chords, but the makers are never heavy handed, it's never over-killed. The key here is portraying a movement - and an individual - that refused to be cowed by the bombs and the bullets. In fact during one quite brilliant scene ignorance proves to be bliss. From personal experience I can say that as a British guy living in England I was vehemently told back in the late 1970s to not even think about buying a 7" single by one of the 'Oirish punk rebel rousers. I'm still flipping that same middle finger I flipped back then, today!

Teenage dreams so hard to beat.

Thankfully the film doesn't spend most of its time on what music fans know as the key Irish bands of the era. The Undertones were indebted to Hooley as much as they were the legendary (and much missed) John Peel, but this picture barely features The Undertones, or Stiff Little Fingers as it happens. The former are key, and provide some of Hooley's most memorable moments, in fact it's the crux of the genius and otherwise (family changes) of Hooley the man and the "businessman". Yet it's the lesser known bands of the time that come to the front and tell the story alongside Hooley, which even though this is a biography of sorts, is a wonderful touch and dare I say it? Very punk rock. It's as he says, they are all a part of Good Vibrations.

I saw the light.

What of Hooley the man, how he is portrayed here? Pic makes the effort to show he was hardly an ideal husband type, where the love of his life, Ruth (the lovely Jodie Whittaker making an under written character boom) is playing second fiddle to his musical passion. His relationship with his parents is only pinched, though just enough to make a point, while some of his dealings with the warring factions in his community come off as a bit fanciful. But these are forgivable sidesteps, for this is about the music lover and the movement he fought tooth and nail to get heard.

It was never about money, punks wanted it, needed it even, but the true spirit of punk shines bright in Good Vibrations, both musically and as a human interest story, making it essential viewing for anyone interested in the original wave of Punk Rock. 10/10


No matter what anyone says, this is utterly fantastic. Good Vibrations was well-received in its American premiere. A chronicle of Terri Hooley's life, a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast's punk-rock scene. I found the film a little too dark and a little too slow as it moves to what seems like an inevitable bitter end. The plot is not as well thought out as the original, but it still does the cast well. I would suggest renting it, or perhaps buying it if the price is right. My final rating for this movie is 7 out of 10, and it deserves it in every way. This film is worthy of all the hopes you have.


A good film to go and see. The protagonist, Terri Hooley, is a self obsessed music lover who stumbles across punk while running his independent record shop in Belfast in the late 70's early 80's and goes about promoting and recording punk bands from Northern Ireland.

The acting is great, great script and unlike the Commitments this is a true story.

Positives: Filmed in colour and atmosphere that portrays the era. The subtle humour and the last line of the movie which I will not give away but will stand as a great movie quote.

Negatives: Adrian Dunbar's wig - Cheap is not the word for it.


Mark Kermode had been raving about this for some time, citing it as his favourite film of the year thus far so I was expecting something special. I wasn't disappointed. It tells the story of Terri Hooley, a record store owner in 1970's Belfast who became one of the most important figures in the brief rise of punk music in N. Ireland. It's a commendable comedy drama which cleverly intertwines the story of Hooley's life with archive footage of the troubles affecting the city.

There are some wonderful scenes, most notably when Hooley first discovers the anarchic, pulsating sound of punk in a Belfast club - his face transforming from impassive to bewilderment to absolute joy in the space of a few seconds. There are genuine laugh out loud lines and it is a film which despite the times it lives in is full of warmth and heart. It's not perfect, it slowly drifts into an overly sentimentalised story and some plot turns are annoyingly predictable. That said it never stops being an intriguing and funny film with a brilliant central performance by Richard Dormer as Terri.


Went to see the film in the lighthouse cinema in Dublin today. I have to say it's great to see a film that brings light on the troubles. It's a sign of the times when a movie like this can be shown today and have great appeal.

All I could think of when watching this was of how if you had to sum up how Northern Ireland and the Republic feel about the troubles it would be to this day how this film feels. At the end of the day it took serious subjects and brought out the good that happened over the past few decades.

Never the less what happened then was a tragedy and will inevitably always be remembered as a tragedy but it's great to see the likes of these films dealing with that sense of community that they had back then.

A few years ago if I was asked "The first thing that comes into your head when you think of Northern Ireland?", most people would say the troubles but over the past few years tourism and the talent that comes out of that country is overwhelming and this is a prime example of how much Northern Ireland has to offer and I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn's future work. I also happen to be studying the same course the dop (Ivan McCullough) is studying so crossed fingers I can do work half as good as this.

****** This is a note for the filmmakers. Went to see the film and saw Jim Sheridan. Asked for his opinion and said he thought it was great. ******


I have been waiting for this movie all my adult life. It is a reaffirmation of my personal history and that of my city, Belfast. Punk made Belfast what it is to-day and the energy of the film reflects this. All aspects of the movie excel, but for me personally it is the first accurate, contemporary celluloid portrayal of my community – aggressive black humour, dogged determination underpinned with old fashioned sentimentality and a lack of respect for the Establishment. Protestants in Northern Ireland are often portrayed as rather dour and unaesthetic. Whilst Catholics tend to be seen as more creative and artistic,indeed Catholics are much more successful in the arts than Protestants. This in no way suggests that Protestants are discriminated against in the arts, we are not, but have simply been lagging behind, until now. So it is no mean feat that that the Good Vibrations movie shows the Protestant community in a refreshingly healthy and artistic light. For the benefit of readers from outside of Northern Ireland the two main bands portrayed in the movie and their fans where Protestant as were the initial wave of local punk bands, punk in Northern Ireland originated in the East Belfast Protestant heartland, Terri Hooley (the owner of Good Vibrations) came from the Protestant community, as did his partners in the record shop and the committee set up by Terry to run the famous Harp Bar were Protestant and of course the writers of the movie were Protestants. So I think that it is true to say that the Protestant ethic and history of rebellion fuelled the Northern Ireland punk scene from the start. Well done to all concerned.
Small Black

Small Black

I saw Good Vibrations today and I absolutely loved it. Perhaps the heavy accents will hinder its travel arrangements but I think it will win a few awards; it certainly deserves to! The music is mainly Punk and documents the early career of The Undertones. Any comparison between the young bands portrayed in this film and the top Showbands of the day would be very stark; they roughed it while premier league Showbands were treated like royalty. Nevertheless, it gives a very real account of the Belfast music scene during "The Troubles". I know, I was in the thick of it. The only dodgy thing about the film is Adrian Dunbar's wig……. Perhaps I'm biased because I know Terri but, if you see only one music movie this year, it should be Good Vibrations.


This is a soundtrack, not a film. It doesn't ask any questions, lay out any arguments, or challenge any taboos. It's got a stonking lead performance and it looks period correct when not depending on stock imagery. It's got loads of minor pop music - a good mixtape, the sort of themed selection you'd find cover mounted on Uncut or Mojo magazine. It could have been a blast. Or, with some genuine insight to the personal relationships only vaguely sketched in the script, it could have been a more substantial drama.

But it's a cheap shot to prop up Terri Hooley's self hype with endless stock footage of the troubles - especially the Miami showband material. As if the scene where Terri and his little band of gullible, fame seeking youths being stopped by the Brits and discovered to be the true cross-community ideal was somehow related (what an awkward scene that was).

Truth is, punk didn't do much in or for Northern Ireland and after its brief bubble burst, Hooley never found another "wave" to incompetently exploit - except perhaps the trendy "hagiography of failures in popular culture" that passes for biography in too many recent films. (Next: The Gary Glitter Story...?).

Where it really struggles to even entertain is in constantly trying to raise the minimal narrative above a basic "let's put on a show in the barn" story, by co-opting historical sectarian division and political oppositions as contextual justification for a bunch of people who were essentially running away, rather than confronting it.

The fawning climax, a clumsy collage of wet eyed forgiveness and self-justification during a concert in the Ulster Hall ("It holds 2000 people!") is downright creepy.

And if PUNK meant anything, anywhere, then surely Hooley's apocryphal shout "New York has the hair, London has the trousers, but Belfast has the reason." is its betrayal.


The Good Vibrations movie is presented as a biopic about the life of an Irish music scene veteran Terri Hooley. The movie tells the story of the record store-owner, who opened up shop at the height of the Belfast civil rights conflict in the 1970's and the latter stages of the punk scene. Actor Richard Dormer plays the role of Hooley in the Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry-written movie. The movie might be worth seeing as an anthropological curiosity, but, as a fully-formed feature film, it's lacking in all key categories. Plot is ignored in favour of chunks of key moments in Hooleys life which is presented as legendary. Yet for the most part the portrayal is unremarkable - and legendary only in terms of the myths he propagated around himself, so the whole biopic promotion seems pointless. His life long association with the music industry was only as a fan and amateur protagonist. Yet the film hangs his legendary status not only on the myths but also on the fact that he stumbled upon a band (the Undertones) and passed them on to a U.S. record major whereby they achieved moderate success. Attributing the success to Hooley rather undermines the ability of the band themselves. I am not accusing the Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn of being socially irresponsible, because, as filmmakers, their responsibility is to present their vision, not to teach a history lesson. However, by adopting this approach, they rob the movie of potential dramatic tension. Good Vibrations becomes a sporadically interesting glimpse into the rather tame and parochial world of music nerds. Those wishing for a full-on, comprehensive look at the Punk era will be disappointed. The Directors do have some good ideas that result in a few inspired scenes, but the story - at least what there is of a story - is flaccid, and the characters are porously presented and developed. The directors may sympathize with them, but they never get the audience to that point. There is also some lazy film making, the flying scene sequences stir memories of similarly bizarre moments in The Big Labowsky. It's possible that Good Vibrations' target audience (old punks and hippies now in their 50's to 70's) will adore this movie. David Holmes' music supervision is likely to give the film short-lived cult status among record collecting nerds and may be seen as an interesting but embarrassing period piece.


This film is the 47th Karlovy Vary International film Festival (KVIIF) 's opening film, a chronic biography about Terri Hooley, a key figure in Belfast's punk-rock scene, from Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, the director team of CHERRYBOMB (2009), but by and large, the film is just another middle-of-the-road sort from its genre, doesn't quite stand out in any facet.

The film introduces a quite vintage palette to emphasize the milieu with footage superimpositions of the dark age (but the mission to evoke any collisions which underline the political scenarios at then has misfired here). A fatal underachievement is the utterly weak narrative arc, jumpy all the time but scarcely touches the chord of convincing compassion of the protagonist.

From a global scope, punk music has waned to its worst era since its genesis, we can actually claim that Punk is dead now, so the resonance may be curbed and fail to launch among the generation of Hip-Hop and Electro.

The music and songs are copious in the film and has indomitably eclipsed the story itself although Hooley is never an artist himself, he is the owner of the record-store "GOOD VIBRATION" and eventually becomes the godfather of Belfast's punk music. Performance wise, a cipher Richard Dormer is praiseworthy in his breathing through leading role, his one-eyed mimicry is fine-drawn but impressive. Among the supporting group, Jodie Whittaker (from VENUS, 2006), Dylan Moran (from SHAUN OF THE DEAD, 2004), and a deadly talented Liam Cunningham are much bigger names but barely has any potential scenes to manifest themselves.

So, all in all as the opening film of a quite eminent international film festival, the film may be entertaining enough for those who has experienced the period of the particular time, but assessed by an outsider like myself, the fractured structure is clearly hampering the general filmic comprehension and the outcome has been a bit underwhelmed.


Good Vibrations offers a perspective we rarely see in movies from the same period – the punks and their leader Terry Hooley display a rather adorable innocence. Hooley and the young members of bands such as Rudi and the Outcasts were dealing with a different world than their more famous counterparts in England, such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Brought up with the Troubles, these rockers are looking more to avoid political trouble. Compared with the intimidating likes of Johnny Rotten, their attitude seems practically welcoming. There are no lips, noses and ears harpooned with safety pins, no talk of toppling the towers of political corruption and no swastikas. Very refreshing to find a movie with such heart.


(54%) A likable film about a likable, largely unknown man who opens a Belfast record shop during the troubled 1970's, and in a similar vane to Brian Epstein helps change the course of music history. There really isn't a whole lot here in terms of surprises, and some of the ideas really don't work as well as others such as Hooley's comedic, rather silly hallucinations, but this still tells its quite informative story well. Although its finest asset is the fact that it shows that it's possible to have real significance in a very competitive industry without ever selling millions of records and becoming mega rich, which is something this film more or less is all about to the point of relishing in it.


The film looks back nostalgically at the seventies. Those like the movies lead, Terry, who hoped that Punk Rock would prove more than a passing fad were to be disappointed. By the late seventies disco was the dominant element in popular music in Belfast, especially among the young, bringing thousands of kids together. Punk was a minority interest. However the film can still be seen as a celebration of punk, a time which saw the birth of a new, small but exuberant youth culture as young people asserted their tastes in music and fashion which were quite different to those of their elders/peers. In that sense at least, the punks of the late seventies had "never had it so good". But in the end the punks ran out of steam and melted back into the greyness of Belfast leaving no legacy what-so-ever. What is particularly disappointing is that the film makes a virtue out of failure.


Good Vibrations (GV) came highly recommended from my local liquor store attendant, an equally avid film buff. What began showing so much promise petered out by act three. I was stoked from the onset, jazzed, amped up, I mean with lines like "one of those special bonds, part pharmaceutical, part philosophical" and "a proper record collection should have track for every moment", how could I not? So act one had me all in, hook-line-and-sinker, fully ensconced in the message, meaning, and mayhem plaguing Belfast, Ireland.

However, instead of gaining momentum, it slowed considerably and this once promising "true" story became slightly stale and insipid. In reflection, understanding the genesis of my disinterest was utterly perplexing and a sizable feat. I was unaware of any one point or instance where I could ascribe fault or blame, no aha light bulb moment. Taken individually on their own merit the components or factors which led to my disappointment are paltry and would otherwise go unnoticed, but as a collective they create a wet canvas snuffing out any chance for redemption or a grand crescendo.

You know what, scratch that...there is one glaring omission, deliberate or not, is that no characters aside from Terri Hooley (I know it's his semi-biographic story) were permitted to develop, banished to forgettable cursory roles. It was all him to the exclusion of others. So the few remote opportunities to develop the pompous Terri possibly ingratiating him enough to grow endearing to us and welcome him in with respect to his laurels was assuaged if not totally lost.

And lastly, to butcher and borrow from the Samuel Clemens stratum of brilliant quips: to say the movie score was better than it sounded is putting it mildly. I think he said of this after a German Opera and he was quoted as saying the music was better than it sounded. At any rate, terrible selection of music and I know they had to be true to the time and place, but shoot, they were lifeless songs and listless lyrics. In the end, it was rather unremarkable and for every Terri Hooley, they were hundreds scattered and mooching about. I would like to tip my hat to his bravado, courage, resourcefulness, and unwavering dedication to getting the vinyl in the right hands and played…kudos to the man.

Rate: 52 / 100


The movie is not just your standard rock movie with all the attendant clichés. It also attempts to touch on a jumble of issues such as marital neglect, alcoholism, sectarianism, provincial politics, and unrequited ambition. These weighty themes are given the lightest of touches and hit these notes so insistently and with such a lack of grace that it makes it a difficult movie to like. The main character is the flaky and self obsessed owner of a record store whose aim in life is to promote a punk concert to change people's lives (what type of change is not developed). Neither are any of the supporting characters developed and as such we feel no affinity towards them. The movie is very provincial as is the dialect which is difficult to interpret. The movie's parochialism is emphasized when the main character equates Belfast Northern Ireland (the movies setting) to New York and London – "New York has the haircuts London has the trousers but Belfast has the reason" what ever that means. I suggest your money would be better spent on Richard England's 'East End Babylon' if you want to see how a rock and roll movie can be used as a vehicle to address serious grown up themes.


Never sags. Lead actor Richard Dormer is worth the watching and he sings as well! The character of Terri Hooley is portrayed as funny, energetic, brave, a bit manic and the movie matches him on all points.


Grew up listening to Rudi, The Outcasts, SLF etc and Terri was a great character. Delighted when I heard they were to make a film of his attempts to bring music to the people of Belfast and wasn't let down by the result This really is a great bio, deals tremendously with the troubles in a humorous almost flippant way, shows Terri as the maverick and enthusiastic man he is. I once advertised in the NME for a copy of Bigtime by Rudi and Terri himself called me sending a parcel of singles to me in England, no wonder he never made money but that was him Loved every second of this, great performance by Dylan Moran,in fact is unfair to single anyone out but watch for Terri himself in the recording studio scene.

Great stuff