Breaking Glass (1980)

An old, old story, as told circa 1980. Breaking Glass, written and directed by Brian Gibson, follows the path of Stardust, not to mention A Star is Born and most other films about showbusiness, by following the rise of a talented young hopeful who learns that success comes with strings. Kate Crowley (Hazel O'Connor) begins as a bleached New Wave ranter, fly-posting on the tube and yelling songs about dehumanisation over fascist chants in rowdy pubs, but ends up a stoned glam zombie dressed as a robot, packaging her anger for the benefit of corporate music biz baddies and retreating to a sanatorium. The plot may be familiar, but the film still works, thanks to persuasive central performances from O'Connor, who wrote her own songs and shows real acting muscle that sadly didn't lead to anything like a film career, and Phil Daniels as her hustling manager/boyfriend/conscience. The fine supporting cast includes Jon Finch and Jonathan Pryce as a Bond villain-style record producer and a deaf junkie sax player, with glimpses of later perennials like Jim Broadbent and Richard Griffiths. Made and set at the start of the 1980s, it catches its times exactly: a 'Rock Against 1984' outdoor gig that turns into a riot, a routine police harrassment of a band rehearsal, a power cut that transforms a concert into a before-its-time 'unplugged' session. Credits trivia: the executive producer was Dodi al Fayed.

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