Andrew Upton’s rock’n’roll drama explores the intrinsic destructiveness of immense fame and the consequences of a life lived in the spotlight.
Riflemind is a defunct rock band whose members reunite one weekend with the hopes of rekindling the magic of its music and the heights of past fame. Hugo Weaving is commanding and intimidating as John, Riflemind’s lead singer and guitarist, who defected from the land of rock’n’roll in search of solitude and rehabilitation, and whose country house becomes the scene of the reunion.
As director, Philip Seymour Hoffman brings cohesiveness to a script that at times wears thin. The use of strobe lighting and loud, seat-shaking guitar riffs is imposing, yet effective in conveying the high-level tension that exists between the characters and in the lives that each has led.
Jeremy Sims gives an endearing performance as the band’s manager Sam and is the main source of light relief amid the heavy undertones of drug abuse and addiction. Marton Csokas is compelling as the pompous, ambitious and strung-out Phil, while Susan Prior captures the yoga zombie to a tee.
Riflemind is an intense ride through a complex series of relationships which, much like the musicians depicted within, is at its strongest when focused on the music and not the drugs.