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Parents' Guide to


By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Scottish indie about '90s rave scene has cursing, drug use.

Movie NR 2019 101 minutes
Beats Poster Image

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This Scottish indie comedy-drama will jolt the memory of some and shine a light on an often overlooked counter-culture for others. The British rave scene of the 1980s and early 1990s saw thousands of revelers regularly attend illegal gatherings to drink, take drugs, and dance until sunrise. With its banging soundtrack, questionable casual sportswear, and news bulletins playing in the background, director Brian Welsh captures this time period perfectly. The final rave is a sweaty mess of teens and 20-somethings putting all their troubles and worries to one side as they dance the night away. The scene is perhaps overlong but it captures the energy and out of body experience its ravers are enjoying -- Welsh interjects color imagery in what otherwise is a movie filmed entirely in black and white.

By setting the movie in 1994, Beats takes place at point where the illegal rave scene was coming to an end -- not least due to British Government legislation that banned mass gatherings where music with "repetitive beats" was played. But for central characters and first-time ravers, Johnno and Spanner, the story also marks the coming to an end of their friendship. Polar opposites -- Johnno shy and reserved; Spanner outgoing and kind, but from the wrong side of the tracks -- there's a subtle affection between the two friends rarely portrayed between male teen characters. A touching tale of teenage friendship told to the backdrop of some heavy beats.

Movie Details

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