SUNDANCE – Andrew Dominic’s Young Nick is a triumph, boasting an amazing performance by Timothée Chalamet.
Call Me By Your Name and Ladybird star Timothée Chalamet once more pulls out the stops with a bravura performance as Australian post-punk singer Nick Cave in a new film tracing the origins of the Australian musician. Young Nick begins in Australia with the teenager Nick still searching to find his way through the world. Writer and director Andrew Dominic – and pal of Nick Cave – knew Nick Cave as they both group up in the same world. This is evident in the closely observed miseries of 80s suburban Australia. Guy Pearce is superb as Cave’s confused father, who is out of his depth with his rebellious son.
Liam Hemsworth is slightly too old to play Mick Harvey, the Birthday Party and then Bad Seeds guitarist, but he manages his part with aplomb. The interaction between the two makes for some of the funniest dialogue of the film. Cave reveals himself something of an idealist against the hard Ozzie pragmatism of Harvey.
The Scenes of the gigs are great. So vibrant and full of life. From the disastrous school disco to the local club where the first tentative steps towards stardom look to be foiled by the over zealous attentions of the local police. But it is Chalamet’s performance which is creating early buzz and talks of a possible Oscar nomination down the road. He shows the charisma that made Cave the figure he would become but equally he manages to suggest the vulnerabilities at the heart of the character. The music is obviously dynamite with a mix of mostly Birthday party tracks but with an evocative use of From Her to Eternity as the film transitions to a wintry London. And an assault on musical history from out antipodean heroes.
Dominic has created a deeply entertaining, visually sumptuous and startlingly intelligent film. Perhaps his best movie since Chopper. And it is important to note, this isn’t a film for fans only. If you go in without knowing anything about Cave – who stills remains a select taste – there’s still plenty to enjoy in this punkish portrait of a rebel without a cause.