News Article

Backbeat

(1994)

Ian Hart, Stephen Dorff, ...
Image credit: Backbeat: Mark Tillie

Movies about musicians:''Backbeat''

LEAD SINGERS Five young actors play the early Beatles — Stu Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff, right), John Lennon (Ian Hart, left), Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell), George Harrison (Chris O'Neill), and Pete Best (Scot Williams) — in a film set during the then-quintet's formative months gigging in Hamburg, Germany.

PITCH-PERFECT? An alternative supergroup that included Nirvana's Dave Grohl, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, and Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner assembled to reimagine the Beatles' early garage-rock sound on cover tunes such as ''Please Mr. Postman.'' Music aside, Hart is uncanny as Lennon (it couldn't have hurt that he had already played him once before in 1991's The Hours and Times).

HUMBLE ORIGINS The future Fabs share seedy boarding-house rooms, have sex in front of each other, and munch amphetamines like jellybeans.

HIGH NOTE Lennon wins over skeptical Hamburg sailors with a manic version of ''Long Tall Sally'' (blame the aforementioned uppers).

TRAGIC ENDING Sutcliffe leaves the band to pursue an art career and dies of a brain hemorrhage at age 21. And the Beatles — well, you know...

Read EW's review

Originally posted Oct 21, 2004