WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY (a/k/a Karma Caméléon, 2012, Dir. Julian Jarrold, 92 minutes, UK original screening May, 2010) is a classy biopic about a true hero of mine, George O’Dowd. We all know him as Boy George. Sadly confined to only a few years’ time, this classy, well-executed and artful work is probably the only Boy George biopic I will live to see – thus I am ecstatic about it.
And it is the best biopic of its kind.
Beginning in Boy George’s youth in 1980 (he’s played by a far too skinny Douglas Booth, who is a Johnny Depp clone), this pings back and forth between the five unsettled years when music was super-hot and the artists were just the opposite. Until the other side of that timeline, when Boy George brought true beauty to music. In 1980, however, Boy George is trying his best, but he can’t seem to break out and move beyond his ‘fashion photo’ appearances.
He meets Steve Strange (Marc Warren, a Strange clone!), who gives him his first job as coat-checker at Strange’s Blitz Club. Pinging forward in time, we see the Boy under what is apparently house arrest, though I couldn’t tell. From the date shown in the film (mid-1980s), he had just left Culture Club and I do not really recall him being in trouble with the law then. That part is completely confusing.
Backward in time – 1980 – he meets a cocky and corrosive Jon Moss (Matthew Horne), who as we all know will be Culture Club’s controversial drummer boy. But in 1980, he was just another smart-ass kid. Odd that in this film Jon, who was quite handsome and very short, should be almost as tall as Boy George and quite ugly in comparison. That is just one of the inexplicable screw-ups here that put me off a little. It is as bad as the almost miscast Douglas Booth, who unlike Boy George is rather short, rail thin and beautiful … in another way than Boy George is.
And almost every actor here is obviously ten or twelve years too old.
In other words, somehow I didn’t ‘feel’ it. Don’t get me wrong: everyone is BRILLIANT, with classy, powerful acting and a touching bunch of moments in time are artfully presented. The trouble is, this life and music, the clothes and attitude, take me back to my youth. As I said, the performers didn’t make me ‘feel’ it.
I’d murder for a CD of the soundtrack (and this also makes me want to get the Bow Wow Wow songs that George sang).
Don’t let my grumpy mood discourage you. If you want to really be immersed in the world that gave birth to Boy George, if you want to learn about him, if you really don’t want to hurt him, then get this beautiful film.
With the added talents of Francis Magee as George’s beloved father Jerry, Freddie Fox, Richard Madden, and Mark Gatiss as the legendary Malcolm McLaren.