‘Shoplifters of the World’ overview: Rising up with the Smiths

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For years, a fable continued that in 1987 a younger Smiths fan held up a neighborhood Denver radio station at gunpoint with a stash of Smiths tapes and demanded they play the Manchester, England, band’s music for hours. It’s even been stated that this was the inspiration for the 1994 rock comedy “Airheads.” The legend has since been debunked, and the true story is that whereas the fan did intend to take over the station, he misplaced his nerve on the final minute and turned himself in. However legends by no means die, and now it’s the inspiration for Stephen Kijak’s Smiths tribute movie, “Shoplifters of the World,” which opens with the promise that it’s “primarily based on true intentions.”

Ellar Coltrane (“Boyhood”) performs the station hijacker, Dean, a younger document retailer clerk impressed to do one thing that may go down in musical historical past on the day in 1987 that the Smiths break up. He’s, in fact, making an attempt to impress a woman, the magnetic and elusive Cleo (Helena Howard), a die-hard Smiths fan whom he permits to pocket as many cassette tapes as she needs from his retailer.

“Shoplifters of the World,” in reality, belongs to Cleo, not simply because Howard is such a dizzyingly charismatic actress however as a result of her story, which unfolds parallel to Dean’s, is a heartfelt coming-of-age drama that completely embodies the youthful angst, ennui and romantic longing expressed so nicely within the music of the Smiths. She too longs to flee her personal humdrum city.

Whereas Dean spends the night time bonding over music (at gunpoint) within the KISS 101 station with DJ Full Metallic Mickey (Joe Manganiello, who additionally produced the movie), Cleo spends one final night time together with her mates earlier than Billy (Nick Strause) ships off to fundamental coaching. They decide up Sheila (Elena Kampouris) and Patrick (James Bloor) and the foursome head out for one final epic all-nighter, an evening that may take a look at their bonds, their desires, their sexuality and themselves, all soundtracked to twenty of the best Smiths songs.

Very similar to frontman Morrissey’s lyrics, “Shoplifters of the World” is extremely earnest and deeply felt, although there are components that really feel synthetic. The chums usually communicate in music lyrics, which is at first a form of charming affectation however then peppers a lot of their dialogue that it feels inauthentic and pressured, to the purpose the place one begins to query all of their traces.

However you possibly can’t assist however be drawn into their private struggles. Cleo and Sheila, particularly, are simply so cool, regardless of their flaws and foibles, whereas Billy and Patrick thrash towards the masculine social norms and expectations they simply can’t appear to shake.

It’s fantastically shot; cinematographer Andrew Wheeler rides the road between realism and visible extra to attract us into this night time of wanton abandon. Steadicam operator Tanner Carlson’s kinetic camerawork, particularly on the dance flooring of a espresso store, home celebration or homosexual bar, is expertly executed and completely intoxicating.

Structured in “sides” (like a document or a tape) titled after totally different Smiths songs, with interviews and archival footage of the band interspersed all through, the movie creates a real tribute to the Smiths — particularly their heydey, it must be emphasised. Full Metallic Mickey at one level mentions the methods through which one’s heroes can disappoint, an apt method to Morrissey today. However in the event you love the Smiths, and that magical teenage time when music, and your connection to it, is crucial factor on this planet, you’re prone to swoon for “Shoplifters of the World.”

Katie Walsh is a Tribune Information Service movie critic.

‘Shoplifters of the World’

Not rated

Working time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Taking part in: Begins March 26, Music Corridor, Beverly Hills, and in restricted launch the place theaters are open; additionally on digital and VOD

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