One thing writer-director Greg Harrison does exceedingly well in Groove is thrusting the audience into the mind-set of a San Francisco rave. From scouting out a warehouse and transforming it into a party space to e-mailing invites to the rave cognoscenti, there’s a palpable feeling of anticipation. Something is going to happen tonight – quite a few things do happen – but this is not a film about major revelations.

As a document of a generation, Groove doesn’t pack the wallop of American Graffiti or even Dazed and Confused, but those films were made a decade after the events they chronicle, and have the 20-20 vision of hindsight. Harrison tries to catch lightning in a bottle, which is a tricky gambit.

Groove follows a multitude of ravers as the trajectory of their lives is either changed or confirmed by the events of one night. At the epicenter are four characters: the sullen David (Hamish Linklater), a frustrated novelist who makes a living writing tech manuals; his gregarious brother, Colin (Denny Kirkwood), whose optimistic outlook on life is buoyed by the rave scene; Colin’s happy-go-lucky girlfriend, Harmony (Mackenzie Firgens), who blissfully lives for the moment; and the enigmatic Leyla (Lola Glaudini), a New York transplant looking for a new start, but uncertain of how to begin.

There’s a generational divide between the two pairs (one established, one newly minted), and it makes for an interesting contrast. The self-conscious newbie, David, and the veteran party girl, Leyla, clash, then bond. Both are old enough to have seen their once-bright hopes wither on the vine. The shiny, happy rave couple, Colin and Harmony, are in for a rougher ride, as they see how the anything-goes attitude of the scene clashes with their conventional expectations of being a couple.

In Greg Harrison’s hands (he’s also the film’s editor), seemingly random vignettes are carefully crafted to follow the rhythms of an all-night rave. He may not portray the dynamics of the whole scene (an impossible task), but Harrison effectively captures the particulars of one nation under a groove.

Serena Donadoni writes about film for the Metro Times. E-mail her at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.