The Pebble and the Boy
Written and directed by Chris Green, The Pebble and the Boy (which takes it name form the Paul Weller track of the same name) is designed to be a nostalgic love letter to Mod culture. Opening with a compilation of footage showing convoys of parka-wearing Mods riding their scooters to Secret Affair’s My World, the flick establishes its tone and sets the scene for a lighthearted road trip movie.
This is the impression viewers are given when they’re introduced to John (Patrick McNamee), a 19-year-old from Manchester grieving from the loss of his father. Wanting to honour his memory, the teenager decides to scatter his father’s ashes at Brighton, the spiritual home of the Mods. He hops on the old Lambretta scooter that was left to him and sets out on his way, later to be joined by hot-headed Nikki (Sacha Parkinson) and oafish pretty boy Logan (Max Boast) – both of whom are the children of fellow Mods.
It’s not far into the journey, however, before viewers understand that every one of these characters is completely insufferable: John is perpetually whiney, Nikki is a borderline bully (she persuades John to continue on the trip just so she can see Paul Weller in concert), and Logan is simply there to be annoying. Aside from the rare moment between McNamee and Parkinson (who gives the strongest performance), the threesome barely have any chemistry to speak of. Spending time with them is far from a pleasant experience, which isn’t helped by the terrible humour that stops every scene dead in its tracks.
Just as questionable as the comedy is the pacing of events. The group’s main motivation is to get to Brighton, but by the time they do get there (around halfway through), the script doesn’t seem to know what to do next. Green’s solution is to throw in some extra plot elements to buy some time before the film ends. Had these been introduced earlier they could have left more of an impact, particularly in the case of a last-minute revelation that ties the characters together.
The Pebble and the Boy may feature iconography from 80s Mod culture, but its hollow script and detestable characters make it an homage in lip service only. It lacks the soul and energy that it praises, and is generally a dull time.
The Pebble and the Boy is released in select cinemas on 27th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Pebble and the Boy here: