'Waterboys' The Film Review
4.0Overall Score

The visual beauty of Scotland and Edinburgh is brought to the fore in writer/director Robert Jan Westdijk‘s Waterboys. Not to be confused with the 2001 Asian film but inspired by the music of the Celtic folk rock band of the same name, there’s plenty to enjoy about this product that depicts a father and son rekindling their relationship. When famed crime novelist Victor (Leopold Witte) is needing to reassess his life, he calls his musician son, Zack (Tim Linde) to figure out what’s next. He’s a party animal and his wife Elsbeth sees this gent as irresponsible. That’s why she left.

Even the young man has problems with his girl. At least he’s trying to make amends with Amisha throughout the film. But as he’s trying to figure out the meaning to life, universe and everything else, Papa interferes in the worst way possible. This detail is at the heart of this film which uses the music of Scottish group Waterboys to further the theme. In the story, Zack asked his father if he ever paid close attention to the lyrics Mike Scott (frontman of this band) wrote. He also notes how this lyricist never writes the same thing; each tune is unique.

When the elder is required to go to Scotland to promote his latest book, he takes the lad along to try to reconcile. Along the way, we are treated to “Whole of the Moon,” to describe Victor’s life journey. As he tells his son, he and Elsbeth met at a concert and they fell in love there. Afterwards, somewhere along the way of merriment, the fire was gone. As he takes the high road to achieve fame, his significant other is on a low road of misery because he’s rarely home.

It would be ironic if an extended cut of the movie included the song, “The Thrill is Gone,” a blues song made popular by B.B. King. The Waterboys have their own version and it’s paired with “The Healing Has Begun.” Had this tune been included, this film would have gone into finishing the journey he started. Instead, the melancholy “Edinburgh” is used instead. It could have gone into greater detail had another track, “City Full of Ghosts (Dublin)” been included. Victor looks like he has something to hide.

I simply found this film very relatable and palpable. It is also a greatest hits package of the Waterboys best songs from 1985 to 2015. Their music is happy, and their version of the Blues does not get people down. The act of playing any musical instrument can be considered by some musicians as a form of release. We see it whenever Zack uses his arm like the neck of a cello, after having a row with his father. For this boy, he knows these melodies can stir the soul, and for the words people hear, can evoke the heart. “Don’t Bang the Drums” is very significant for Victor, and he finally realizes how alone he is.

For these two men, they could say, “We Can Work It Out,” like a certain Beatles song to their former significant others … or simply look ahead for a better future as the final track, “This is the Sea” suggests.

This film is playing at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival as its opening night movie on Feb 2nd and offered again at Star Cinema in Sidney, BC Feb 3rd. It available for streaming in the Netherlands, on iTunes and select online services.

Waterboys Poster

Don’t Bang the Drum (1985)
The Whole of the Moon (1985)
Still a Freak (2015)
Edinburgh Castle (1995)
Open (1997)
December (1983)
A Man is In Love (1990)
A Christ In You (2003)
Long Strange Golden Road (2014)
This is the Sea (1985)