Rating and Review:
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Steve Coogan, Lennis James, Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine, Andy Serkis, Sean Harris, John Simm, Ralf Little, Danny Cunningham, Chris Coghill, Paul Peoplewell and Keith Allen
I've just got back from the flicks after seeing the new Michael Winterbottom movie "24hr Party People". My first impression of the film after immediately leaving the cinema, was that the movie isn't going to sell well anywhere else in the world apart from Britain. I say this mainly because of the plot and also the music.
The movie basically charts the rise and fall of the 'Madchester' scene from the late 70's through to 1990. The story is told through the eyes of Tony Wilson, played brilliantly by the fantastic comic actor Steve Coogan. For those of you who don't know, Wilson was a local television personality who presented various programmes for Granada TV in Manchester. We follow Wilson as he finds and promotes bands such as Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Monday's.
All the actors who portray the members of the bands do a great job, Especially Sean Harris and Danny Cunningham, who play Ian Curtis (Joy Division) and Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays) respectively. The real-life Tony Wilson isn't a major star, so to me it seemed a strange choice of central character to base the film around, but Steve Coogan does a great job portraying him. I've been a huge fan of Steve Coogan's television work for about ten years now, but it's only recently that he's started doing movies. His last film "The Parole Officer" was a great little comedy, which incidentally is being released stateside anytime now.
"24hr Party People" is shot entirely on DV. It makes the film look very low budget, but I'm guessing this was Winterbottom's reasoning for shooting on digital handicam. It gives the film a very raw vibe, almost punk-like in its ideals, considering the movie begins with a Sex Pistols gig, I suppose the punky feel of the cinematography seems appropriately apt!
I grew up listening to bands like New Order and Happy Monday's (especially the Monday's) and this helped give off a certain kind of nostalgia. It got me thinking that those were better times in Britain, well........musically anyway! I bet I'm not the only person of my generation who feels this after seeing this film.
I do have a couple of gripes with the movie. The first being, I don't think showing the scene through the eyes of Tony Wilson was such a great idea. Mainly for the reason that Wilson thinks he single-handedly created the 'acid' generation and rave culture, the man is an egotistical, self-centred fool. My other gripe is that I personally feel that more bands were involved in the making of the 'Madchester' scene, not just the bands on Tony Wilson's record label. Where the hell were the Stone Roses for example.
But anyway. Apart from the few niggles above, I really enjoyed the movie. The film also inadvertently played a game with my mind. It was the spot the cameo game! There are tons of celebs and comedians playing parts or playing themselves.
I urge anyone who loves indie music to go see this movie, or for that matter, any Steve Coogan fans. Because after all this is basically a Steve Coogan vehicle
© Havvers 2002