You could say that mixing for a crowd of people is a hedonistic act of human tranceport, something the fictional bio-pic It’s All Gone Pete Tong doesn’t quite grasp. Of course, it’s possible its makers understand the film’s absence of human interest: Once billed as a sequel to 1999’s Human Traffic, the title of the film—a reference to real-life DJ Pete Tong, whose name is Cockney slang for “it’s all gone wrong”—is now as inscrutable as its presentation. Besides its techno soundtrack and snarky sense of humor, the only thing It’s All Gone Pete Tong seems to have in common with Human Traffic is a shot of an impromptu ass-fuck. The film’s mix of fiction and documentary talking heads brings to mind the structure of Mario Van Peebles’s BAADASSSSS!, but all similarities end there. There’s no real eloquence or intelligence to It’s All Gone Pete Tong, which documents Wilde’s fall from grace after losing his hearing as a shrill spectacle of music-video business. The film’s first half is as uneven in tone as it is nasty in spirit: The characters—all types and caricatures—exist only to act out some preordained ritual of strung-out iconicity. Director Michael Dowse’s focus isn’t so much on Wilde (a wonderful Paul Kaye) but all the drugs he shovels into his nose, and in the film’s more strenuous and unfunny sequences, this addiction is manifested in some half-skunk/half-bear creature that appears every time Wilde is ready to give up the dope. When the superstar DJ accepts his hearing loss and learns to read lips, Dowse’s evocation of how the man learns to make music by feeling and reading the sonic vibrations of the world around him is sweet and profoundly conveyed. Pity it’s not something that’s worth waiting for: If you manage to stick around for joy, it’s probably because—like me—you dig the original score by Graham Massey…or you bumped into your arch nemesis Hilary Duff on the way to the screening, the shock of which might keep you glued to your seat and lost in thought for the duration of the film’s running time.
The film's original cinematography isn't a knock-out, but looking at the image on this DVD frame-by-frame, you'd be hard pressed to find a single flaw: Colors are lush and skin tones are remarkably authentic, with excellent shadow delineation, solid blacks, and not a single instance of edge enhancement. Audio is a little disappointing if only because the dance music stopped just short of exploding out of my speakers. But if the bass levels leave a little something to be desired, the constant screaming in the film does pack a considerable punch.
From Michael Dowse becoming attached to the production to Paul Kaye learning how to mix, a 41-minute making-of featurette covers all the bases except for the fact that the film is not based on a true story. Though I imagine many people saw the film because they did think Frankie Wilde was a real DJ, I can't imagine why the filmmakers would continue to perpetuate this myth now that the film is reaching DVD. Anyway, also here is a collection of skits and interviews divided into three parts ("The Rise," "The Fall," and "The Redemption") and a bunch of trailers for predictable stuff like Spun, Groove, 24 Hour Party People, among others.
It doesn’t look or sound like "the caca" but the story smells a little bit like it.