KAT AND THE BAND – Film Review

Seventeen-year-old, music obsessed school girl Kat Malone (Ella Hunt) tricks her way into managing struggling band Dollar Days, pretending to be a band manager in her twenties.

E.E. Hegarty’s Kat and the Band is a beautifully touching film that delves into the inner relationships and turmoils of a promising band that doesn’t have much luck when it comes to scoring gigs. It’s a film that is most certainly not without its problems, but it managed to put a big smile on my face and swept me off my feet from the beginning all the way until the end.

A large portion as to why this movie works as well as it does is because of the relationship between the band members and the titular Kat Malone. I have seen quite the number of music-related films that are similar to this film, but this particular movie does an excellent job of showcasing a band that is not without its faults. The music that Dollar Days plays is actually quite good, but they struggle to find anywhere to play. They spend most of their time either practicing or simply playing at the cheapest possible venues because they are that desperate to even have a few people hear some of their songs.

But Kat immediately takes notice of the band’s potential and wants to help them out because she too is a hardcore music lover and has a dream of one day becoming a professional band manager. But, instead of being outright and forward with the band, she simply approaches them by already stating that she is a manager with lots of experience under her belt.

It takes her a lot of convincing, but eventually, she wins them over after she manages to find them a remarkably talented drummer named Sid (Idris Debrand). When all seems to be going alright for the group, they run into one misstep after the next, and it not only becomes incredibly entertaining to watch them figure their way out of the sticky situation but poignant and uplifting. It truly felt as though I were watching a real band trying their best to succeed. I felt the raw passion that these band members had, which is impressive considering that these were all actors.

Dougie Poynter (left) as Alex and Ella Hunt (right) at Kat in Kat and the Band (2020).

All of the cast do wonderful jobs in their respective roles, but none come close to reaching the levels of energy and warmth that lead-star Ella Hunt manages to radiate. I have been a fan of her work ever since the extraordinarily unique and exciting Anna and the Apocalypse and I loved her portrayal of Sue Gilbert in Apple TV+’s Dickinson series from last year. While her performance here as Kat isn’t as great as the aforementioned performances, she still manages to pull off a sweet and captivating performance of a teenage girl who loves music and will stop at nothing until her dreams come true. Watching her character in this film was greatly rewarding and inspiring.

When it comes to issues with the film, there are definitely a few as I hinted at earlier. For one, the plotline isn’t anything original and does, at times, feel quite familiar. It follows a tried-and-true formula of a music-related film and doesn’t have a bunch of shocking surprises up its sleeves. Gratefully though, it ended up being rather unpredictable, as I thought I had the ending all figured out at one point, only for the film to go in the completely opposite direction which was a pleasant diversion.

Furthermore, there are some moments in which the film feels as if it is moving along a bit too quickly. With a running time of only ninety-two minutes, there is only so much time that is dedicated to fleshing out a few of the characters. For example, Kat’s best friend Jane (Jennifer Leong) feels pushed to the side compared to the other actors. I didn’t really get a strong sense of what her character’s purpose was, other than to love and support her best friend.

All that being said though, E.E. Hegarty’s Kat and the Band is a beautifully touching and inspiring music-fueled coming-of-age tale with a sense of life and wonder oozing through. It’s a movie that I think a lot of us could use right now.

Kat and the Band is a beautifully sweet and uplifting music-fueled coming-of-age tale with a great sense of heart, and an excellent performance from Ella Hunt.

Overall Grade: B+

MPAA Rating: N/A

Cast: Ella Hunt, Dougie Poynter, Katherine Kelly, Joanna David, Anna Devlin, Rufus Hound, Gareth Hale, Jackson Bews, James Doherty, Sevan Stephan, Callum McGowan, Idris Debrand, Jennifer Leong, Olivia Maiden

Directed by: E.E. Hegarty

Distributed by: IFC Midnight, Stan

Release Date: July 13, 2020 (United Kingdom)

Running Time: 92 minutes

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