In Review StartStop (The Untold Story as told by Mary Applestone a film by Jim Banfield) by Kew & Michael Bennett Leroux

StartStop is the greatest and most important punk rock band of all time! Now the truth, that they invented punk rock, will finally be proven thanks to Jim Banfield.

A feature film premiering at Brighton Rocks in June this year is guaranteed to delightfully assault all of your senses from start to finish. ‘StartStop (The Untold Story as told by Mary Applestone a film by Jim Banfield)’ is the ever-so catchy title which might give you a hint as to its tone. If you are looking for a review for a dreary and pretentious film – you can stop reading now. Canadian filmmaker duo consisting of director and writer Kew and writer, producer and actor Michael Bennett Leroux have heisted the form of a traditional music documentary to tell an outlandish story of deceit and embezzlement about the most famous and groundbreaking punk rock band you have never heard of. In doing so, they have created a hilarious, sardonic meta mockumentary which you cannot help but be enthralled by.

The film flows through two consistently unravelling yet interwoven threads. A documentary, framing the meteoric rise and fall of the fictitious band StartStop, and behind the scenes chronicles following supposed documentary filmmaker, lothario and con man Jim Banfield, as he evades the RCMP and other undesirables. 

The film is obviously designed to put the iconic music legends StartStop and their affable lead man PowerFist, supposedly the true originators of punk rock, on the pedestal they so deserve as we are treated to previously unseen vintage footage of their 1976 tour. This footage is complimented by a rag-tag bunch of interviewees talking about following their beloved band. These fabulous characters are perfectly nuanced parodies of the sincere and serious talking heads you would expect to find in a band documentary, and special mention must be made to the performance-of-a-lifetime by Gillian Wheeler as Mary Applestone. Her dulcet tones and nostalgic reverie guide us through the chaotic vintage reels and enlighten us on a few inner secrets of the lives of rock and roll bands.

As we are praising the actors, Larry Fedoruk playing Jim Banfield is exactly what you want from a cringe-worthy, sleazy con man whose vapid existence and eventual evasion from the authorities speaks to everything that is wrong with the world. His vast and plush estate ‘Banfield Manor’ is showcased in all its glory, overtaken only by the eternally bikini-clad girlfriend Stacy. Michael Bennett Leroux embodies the lead singer of a punk rock band in his delightful performances both on stage and behind the scenes. 

If this review has you as confused yet intrigued … good. ‘StartStop’ offers non-stop laughs which run the gamut from the caustic and acerbic right through to the slapstick and downright silly. Kew and Michael clearly have a close working symbiosis which goes beyond the pale and this is reflected in their riotous, rip roaring film. Make sure you pay close attention to the carefully crafted song titles and lyrics and the exemplary fashion paraded throughout.

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