We arrived in Seattle on Thursday, June 2nd in time for the North American premiere of Killing Bono. I’d never been to a premiere, let alone a film festival, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The whole event was very low-key, I think I was expecting a bit more of a packed theatre, but it seemed like there were two corners… in this corner, the film festival people there for the “art”, and in this corner, the U2 fans – there for the music and the inside jokes. I was hoping that they boys (or at least that one in particular who often goes to movie premieres) would make an appearance, but alas, they were actually in Canada (Vancouver) at the time – oh, the irony!
As for the movie, things were a bit surreal for me after just having travelled almost 2000 miles to see U2 twice in the last 96 hours. (And a couple of people with us had done Salt Lake City and Denver too!) I’d been spoiled by already having seen the infamous “kitchen scene” (one of the best) but it still made me laugh out loud – Larry with his arse out the garden door and Baby Edge with the bird guitar that didn’t look entirely unlike Adam’s PopMart bass…
The movie was filled with inside jokes for U2 fans – it was kind of nice in that respect to one-up the filmfest snobs who would almost always one-up me in an event such as this. There were several laugh-out-loud moments – one in particular where our hero Neil McCormick is shagging a girl only to have her move just slightly enough during the act to reveal a poster of Bono over her headboard. It was gut-bustingly funny to us tired and harrowed U2 fans and it took us a while to calm down after that one.
As funny as a few of the moments were, I now have to tell you what I truly thought of the movie. It had its moments, but later on in the movie there was a piece that completely ruined it for me. Although it never appeared in the book as surely as Neil McCormick never would have had the thought himself – the filmmakers decided to “go there”. As Neil blagged his way into the release party for the Joshua Tree in Dublin, there was a scene which actually had him drawing a gun and pointing it at Bono, making the title literal and turning my stomach. Earlier references in the movie to John Lennon made it even more unbearable – maybe I’m too sensitive but I don’t know that any U2 fan would think that moment as necessary to the film. Of course he didn’t go through with it, but the fact that they dared to insinuate it completely lost me at that point. There was a Q&A with Nick Hamm via satellite after the show, and had I not just wanted to get out and go have a Guinness with my U2 mates, I would have most definitely hammered him with the question asking why they felt it necessary to portray the thought.
During the ride to Seattle Irish pub Fado from our new friend Alicia (thank you, love!) it was obvious that none of us were ready to rave about the movie as I don’t believe we really discussed it at all. It was disappointing, but I still couldn’t have been at a better place to see it, with a bunch of our U2 friends there along with us and an interested crowd no matter what the review.
And for the record, my favourite part was Mark Griffin (Edge) with the crazy big ponytail wig on portraying Joshua Tree Edge at the press conference. It’s the little things that make me happy, you see.