Review: ‘Bus Palladium’

The trials and travails of a fictive French rock band make for rather easy listening in "Bus Palladium," a generic take on sex, drugs, and several guys in need of a haircut.

The trials and travails of a fictive French rock band make for rather easy listening in “Bus Palladium,” a generic take on sex, drugs, and several guys in need of a haircut. Named after a Paris nightclub that had its heyday in the ’70s and ’80s, this directing debut by vet scribe Christopher Thompson (“Avenue Montaigne,” “Change of Plans”) tells a predictable tale of backstabbing, pot-smoking, suicide-prone rockers trying to make it big in the music biz and learn some valuable life lessons. Despite strong thesping and overall smooth storytelling, “Bus” lacks the gas to travel far beyond Francophone markets.

It’s 1985, and “Lust” — a group as conventional-sounding as its name — is primed for stardom. With a singer (Arthur Dupont, channeling Jim Morrison via Val Kilmer) spouting poetry from rooftops, a guitarist (Marc-Andre Grondin) jealous of said singer’s affair with an Argentine groupie (Elisa Sednaoui), and a brainchild manager (Francois Civil) documenting everything on Super 8, all that’s missing is a major record deal (plus some originality). Soundtrack features the Stones, Blondie and Bowie, but disappointingly leaves out French bands of the epoch. Tech credits are passable.

Bus Palladium

France

Production

A StudioCanal release of an LGM Cinema, StudioCanal, France 3 Cinema production, in association with Coficup 4, Un Fond Backup Films, with participation of Canal Plus, CineCinema, France Televisions. (International sales: Other Angle Pictures, Paris.) Produced by Cyril Colbeau-Justin, Jean-Baptiste Dupont. Executive producer, David Giordano. Directed by Christopher Thompson. Screenplay, Thompson, Thierry Kilfa.

Crew

Camera (color), Remy Chevrin; editor, Celia Lafetidupont; music, Yarol Poupaud; production designer, Emmanuelle Duplay; costume designer, Emmanuelle Youchnovski. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles 21, Paris, March 18, 2010. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Marc-Andre Grondin, Arthur Dupont, Elisa Sednaoui, Geraldine Pailhas, Francois Civil, Jules Pelissier, Abraham Belaga, Karole Rocher, Dominique Reymond, Naomi Greene, Noemie Lvovsky, Solange Najman, Agathe Bonitzer, Philippe Manoeuvre.

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