It's All Gone Pete Tong

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It's All Gone Pete Tong
Film poster
Directed byMichael Dowse
Produced by
Written byMichael Dowse
Music byGraham Massey
CinematographyBalazs Bolygo
Edited byStuart Gazzard
Vertigo Films in association with True West Films
Distributed byAlliance Atlantis and Odeon Films
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 12 September 2004 (2004-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 26 May 2005 (2005-05-26) (U.K.)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryCanada, U.K.
Box office$2,226,603

It's All Gone Pete Tong is a 2004 British-Canadian[1] mockumentary-drama film[2] about a DJ (Paul Kaye) who goes completely deaf. The title uses a rhyming slang phrase used in Britain from the 1980s (Pete Tong = "wrong"), referring to the BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong.[3]

It won two awards at the US Comedy Arts Festival for Best Feature and Best Actor (Kaye) and swept the Gen Art Film Festival awards (Grand Jury and Audience). It was filmed on location in Ibiza and shot entirely in HD.[citation needed]

Ibiza locations used in the movie include the music venues Pacha, Amnesia, Privilege, DC10 and the historic Pike's Hotel and Cala Llonga beach.


Frankie Wilde is a British music producer and a DJ based in Ibiza. After years of playing in night-clubs he loses his hearing, first apparent when he hears a high-pitched whine instead of an Arsenal football match on TV. At this time, Frankie is making his next album with his "two Austrian mates" Alfonse and Horst, who seem more suited for a rock band, but his hearing degrades rapidly and progress stagnates. Frankie refuses to acknowledge his problem until a gig in Amnesia, when he cannot hear the second channel in his headphones and must crossfade one song into the next without being able to beatmatch them. When the crowd boos him, he throws the turntable and the mixer onto the dance floor, and is forcibly removed from the club.

Frankie agrees to see a doctor, who tells him he has lost hearing in one ear and has 20% left in the other. He warns Frankie that unless he stops abusing drugs and listening to loud noises, he will soon be completely deaf, and even the use of his hearing aid would only further degrade his hearing. During a recording session, Frankie confesses the full nature of his hearing loss to Alfonse. He inserts his hearing aid to demonstrate and, overwhelmed by the sudden sound exposure, leans close to one of the monitor speakers. Before he can react, a frustrated Horst smashes a guitar into an amplifier whose volume Frankie has maximized. The noise is excruciating and the feedback knocks Frankie unconscious. The damage leaves him permanently deaf.

Without his hearing, Frankie cannot complete his album. He loses his recording contract and his manager Max abandons him. Soon after, his wife Sonya leaves him. Frankie shuts himself into his home, which he has "soundproofed" with pillows in a desperate bid to recover his hearing, and his drug use intensifies. He sinks into a heavy depression, repeatedly throwing his body against the walls, and wrapping Roman candles around his head, either an attempt at suicide or a drastic way to recover his hearing, but dives into the pool before they ignite. Frankie flushes all his drugs down a toilet, but is tormented by a vision of a menacing badger, and when he fights and kills it, he learns that the badger is, in fact, himself.

Frankie finds a deaf organization and meets Penelope, who coaches him in lip-reading. They become close, and eventually intimate. He confides his unhappiness at losing music, and she helps him perceive sound through visual and tactile methods instead. Frankie manages to devise a system for mixing songs, in which he watches an oscilloscope trace while resting his feet on the pulsating speakers. Using this system, he manages to produce a new mix CD (Hear No Evil) entirely by himself. He delivers it to Max, who is wildly pleased – particularly by the potential of exploiting Frankie's disability to increase record sales. He has Frankie take part in promotions that are increasingly offensive and insensitive to deaf people, of which Penelope disapproves.

Max convinces Frankie to play live at Pacha as a career comeback, despite Frankie's insistence that he has nothing to prove to his critics. The gig goes exceedingly well, and many claim it shows even greater talent than his early work. After the show, Frankie and Penelope disappear from Max and the music scene altogether. In a talking heads sequence, characters speculate on where he is now, if alive. As the film ends, we see Frankie disguised as a homeless street musician, who is met by Penelope and a child, presumably their own. They affectionately walk together down a street unrecognised. Additionally, we see Frankie teaching a group of deaf children how to perceive sound like he does.

Characters and cast[edit]

  • Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye) is the king of DJs, slowly losing his hearing, and soon to lose everything he thinks is important to him: his job, his fame and his trophy wife.
  • Penelope (Beatriz Batarda) is the deaf lip-reading instructor who gives Frankie the tough love he never had and always needed.
  • Sonya (Kate Magowan) is Frankie's supermodel wife. Her days are filled with deciding on what theme is more appropriate for their garden: Japanese or Spanish?
  • Max Haggar (Mike Wilmot) is Frankie's agent. Fat, balding and brash, Max is all about money and his mobile phone is his lifeline.
  • Jack Stoddart (Neil Maskell) is the ruthless CEO of Motor Records who has no sympathy for Frankie. He says, "I didn’t want a deaf DJ on the label. I didn’t want the company to be touched with the deaf stamp. Well, business is tough and sometimes you have to make awkward decisions and I’ve made harder decisions than dropping the deaf DJ."


Several real world DJs appear in the film, lending the film a sense of authenticity,[2] like Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim and Pete Tong himself, who also executive produced the film.[4] Others include Tiësto, Sarah Main, Barry Ashworth, Paul van Dyk and Lol Hammond.

Fubar rockers Paul Spence and David Lawrence, from Dowse's earlier film, also have cameos as Austrian hangers-on.[4]



The film's soundtrack was released by EMI on 4 October 2005 as a double disc soundtrack for the film. The 'Night' & 'Day' concept for the soundtrack album was conceived and compiled by Ben Cherrill, who was, at the time, A&R manager for Positiva Records/EMI. Additional production and mixing was by James Doman.

It's all gone pete tong: original soundtrack recording
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released4 October 2005
Balearic house
Electronic music
Chill out
Big beat
Alternative rock
Drum and bass
ProducerExecutive album Pproducer – Ben Cherrill for Positiva Records
Track listing
CD 1
  1. "Pacific State" – 808 State (exclusive mix)
  2. "Cloud Watch" – Lol Hammond
  3. "Dry Pool Suicide" – Graham Massey
  4. "Moonlight Sonata" – Graham Massey
  5. "Baby Piano" – Lol Hammond
  6. "Ku Da Ta" – Pete Tong (Jay & Dylan McHugh Re-Work)
  7. "Mirage" – Moroccan Blonde (Ben Cherrill, James Doman and Lol Hammond)
  8. "Troubles" – Beta Band
  9. "Parlez Moi D'Amour" – Lucienne Boyer
  10. "Need To Feel Loved (Horizontal Mix)" – Reflekt
  11. "It's Over" – Beta Band
  12. "Halo (Goldfrapp Remix)" – Depeche Mode
  13. "How Does It Feel?" – Afterlife
  14. "Holdin' On" – Ferry Corsten
  15. "Four-Four-Four" – Fragile State
  16. "Music for a Found Harmonium" – Penguin Café Orchestra
  17. "Learning to Lip-Read" – Graham Massey
  18. "Good Vibrations" – The Beach Boys
  19. "Interlude" – Ben Cherrill and James Doman
  20. "White Lines" – Barefoot
CD 2
  1. "Intro
  2. "DJs in a Row" – Schwab
  3. "Flashdance (Raul Rincon Mix)" – Deep Dish
  4. "Good 2 Go" – Juggernaut (Ben Cherrill and James Doman) Mixed With "Rock That House Musiq" – Christophe Monier and DJ Pascal feat. Impulsion
  5. "Blue Water" – Black Rock
  6. "Back to Basics" – Shapeshifters
  7. "Up & Down" – Scent
  8. "Serendipity" – Steve Mac & Pete Tong Presents Lingua Franca
  9. "Plastic Dreams (Radio Edit)" – Jaydee
  10. "Rock Your Body Rock" – Ferry Corsten
  11. "Can You Hear Me Now" – Double Funk feat. Paul Kaye (Ben Cherrill and James Doman)
  12. "Musak (Steve Lawler Mix)" – Trisco
  13. "Yimanya" – Filterheadz
  14. "Need To Feel Loved (Seb Fontaine and Jay P's Mix)" – Reflekt feat. Delline Bass
  15. "More Intensity" – Pete Tong and Chris Cox
  16. "Frenetic (Short Mix)" – Orbital


Songs used in film but not included in the soundtrack:

  1. "Al Sharp" – The Beta Band
  2. "Flamenco" – Flamenco Ibiza
  3. "Get On" – Moguai
  4. "G-Spot" – Lol Hammond
  5. "Hear No Evil" – Lol Hammond
  6. "I Like It (Sinewave Surfer Mix)" – Narcotic Thrust
  7. "Messa da Requiem" – Riccardo Muti/La Scala Milan
  8. "Electronika" – Vada
  9. "Rise Again" – DJ Sammy
  10. "Ritcher Scale Madness" – ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
  11. "The Aviator" – Michael McCann
  12. "Up & Down (Super Dub)" – Scent
  13. "You Can't Hurry Love" – The Concretes
  14. "Rock That House Musiq" - Impulsion


The film was premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. It was released in the United States on 15 April 2005 and on 26 May in the United Kingdom.[5]

Home media[edit]

The DVD was released on 20 September 2005. The U.S. version of the DVD includes 5.1 Dolby Digital, subtitles and several extras that were part of the online/web marketing campaign: Frankie Wilde: The Rise, Frankie Wilde: The Fall and Frankie Wilde: The Redemption.


Commercial performance[edit]

The film made $2,226,603, a little under a quarter million above its $2 million budget.[6]

Critical response[edit]

The film has a rating of 76% based on 71 reviews on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus stating, "Part raucous mockumentary, part drama-filled biopic, It's All Gone Pete Tong amuses and warms hearts with its touching, comic, and candid look at a musician faced with a career-ending handicap."[7] On Metacritic, it has a score of 56 based on 22 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]

Giving the film three stars, Roger Ebert says the film works because of its "heedless comic intensity", chronicling the rise and fall of Frankie Wilde in the film's first two acts "as other directors have dealt with emperors and kings".

Frankie may not be living the most significant life of our times, but tell that to Frankie. There is a kind of desperation in any club scene (as 24-Hour Party People memorably demonstrated); it can be exhausting, having a good time, and the relentless pursuit of happiness becomes an effort to recapture remembered bliss from the past.[2]

Melissa Mohaupt writing in Exclaim! noted "resemblances to various hipster films about music, drugs, excess and failure" such as Trainspotting, Boogie Nights, yet it "never feels stale". There are plenty of quotable quips, and even Frankie's attempted suicide is "high-larious". She says the film manages to be "uplifting without being preachy or cheesy. There are important life lessons to be learned here, or you could just ignore them and enjoy some clever comedy."[9]

Ken Eisner of The Georgia Straight liked the film's "zippy visual style, with sun-dappled primary colours and whirlwind editing to go with the hip pop tunes and block-rockin' beats". He appreciated the fact that Dowse does not milk the many cameos, though the two Fubar actors may have been a bit much.[4] Dennis Harvey, writing for Variety, found those first two acts depressing and decidedly not as advertized (the film was hyped as another This is Spinal Tap), but Michael Dowse rescues the film with "a particularly deft transitional montage that begins with Frankie discovering the musical properties of vibration... segues into lead duo's first lovemaking, and goes on as Frankie re-connects with the dance rhythms he’d thought were lost to him".[1]

Nick De Semlyen, writing for Empire, gave the film two stars, noting there were powerful moments in the film, but thought it was "too dark for casual viewers (or fans of Tong), too blunt to succeed as cult viewing".[5] The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave the film one star, panning it as "breathtakingly charmless and humourless", writing that "Paul Kaye gives a frazzled, one-note performance", while the "appearances by real-life DJs should tip you off that any satire involved is of an essentially celebratory and sycophantic sort; the comedy is leaden, the drama is flat and the attitude to deaf people is Neanderthal".[10]




  • Method Fest, Best Actor, Best Feature
  • BIFA, Best Achievement in Production
  • Genie Awards (8)


The film was remade in Hindi by the Indian film director Neerav Ghosh, titled Soundtrack and was released in 2011.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Harvey, Dennis (17 September 2004). "It's All Gone Pete Tong". Variety. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger. "It's All Gone Pete Tong". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. ^ Dargis, Manohla (15 April 2005). "The Untrue-to-Life Adventures of a D.J. Who Goes Deaf". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Eisner, Ken (9 June 2005). "It's All Gone Pete Tong". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b De Semlyen, Nick (1 January 2000). "It's All Gone Pete Tong Review". Empire. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  6. ^ "It's All Gone Pete Tong (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  7. ^ "It's All Gone Pete Tong". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  8. ^ "It's All Gone Pete Tong". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  9. ^ Mohaupt, Melissa (1 June 2005). "It's All Gone Pete Tong: Michael Dowse". Exclaim!. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  10. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (27 May 2005). "It's All Gone Pete Tong". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2020.

External links[edit]