Saturn Will Not Sleep - Discovery (Official Video)

Groove   C+

Sony Pictures Classics

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Greg Harrison
Writer: Greg Harrison
Cast: Lola Glaudini, Hamish Linklater, Denny Kirkwood, Steve Van Wormer, Mackenzie Firgens, Vincent Riverside, Rachel True, Dimitri Ponce.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

There's a scene in Groove where Ernie (Steve Van Wormer), the guy who throws the rave which the film revolves around, tells a buddy why he risks getting caught by the law to put on these parties. It's for "the Nod," he says. At least one time at every rave, someone comes up to him and thanks him, saying that they really needed this. And then they nod.

It's all for the Nod, baby.

Writer-director Greg Harrison's Groove takes place in one night, at an abandoned warehouse in San Francisco where a rave is being held. A wide variety of characters weave in and out of the story, whether it be the gay couple driving around desperately searching for the rave, or a young partygoer who's close to overdosing. None of the characters really have much depth, but, of course, the main character here is actually the rave itself.

In the beginning of the film, a typical raver named Colin (Denny Kirkwood) invites his straight-arrow brother David (Hamish Linklater) to the rave, the word of which has spread through e-mail and general word-of-mouth. David, a young college grad and aspiring novelist, doesn't think he'll enjoy himself much, but he goes along with his brother and his brother's girlfriend Harmony (Mackenzie Firgens) for the hell of it. He takes ecstasy for the first time, and his reaction to the drug is both humorous and realistic. He actually meets a girl at the rave named Leyla (Lola Glaudini) and they hit it off pretty well.

Throughout the evening, police prove to be a nuisance. New relationships are formed between partygoers and old relationships will be put to the test. You know the drill by now -- all the usual situations you see in plotless, soundtrack-driven youth-oriented movies. Despite the fact that Groove gives us a refreshingly authentic portrayal of the San Francisco rave scene, it suffers from one-note characterizations and a paper-thin script. Groove lacks real substance or anything interesting to say.

Still, Groove is likely the only film to capture the true essence of a rave. At times, when the film lets the pulse-pounding techno music take hold, the feeling can be near-euphoric; we're at that party up there on-screen, and we may even be compelled to get up and dance. We watch the DJs spin, getting the crowd pumped into a frenzy, and there are moments of near-transcendental bliss. If you've never been to a rave, Groove will show you exactly what one of these parties is like. And, for that -- even if the film isn't as good as it could have been -- Greg Harrison deserves the Nod.

Review published 07.14.2000.

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