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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm being post-modern before it was fashionable., 23 Sept. 2012
This review is from: 24 Hour Party People - Single Disc Edition [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
24 Hour Party People is directed by Michael Winterbottom and written by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It stars Steve Coogan, Paddy Considine, Shirley Henderson and Andy Serkis.

Film charts the rise and fall of Tony Wilson's (Coogan) impact on the Manchester music scene from 1976-1992. Musically it encompasses the Punk Rock explosion, Post Punk, Madchester, the birth of Factory Records and The Haçienda Nightclub. Main bands featured as narrative threads are Joy Division and The Happy Mondays.

Print the legend.

There's nothing like it, in music based movies that is, 24 Hour Party People is a collage of styles and genres, part biography, part comedy drama, part rock mockumentary, part tragedy and part fantasy, with the latter a little galling to those in the know since the film often plays fast and loose with the truth. But this almost chaotic approach by Winterbottom is perfect for this most important and influential era of music. There is a bustling energy throughout the picture, a chic coolness coming out of the hand held digital camera, the music is excellence unbound, while it more often than not is great fun, even as dark passages flit in and out-making thumping emotional beats-there's a causticism involved. Wilson was a colourful impresario, and well worth the time afforded him here. The performances vary from good to great, with Coogan at the centre a pure delight as he not only acts out the part of Wilson, but also narrates and breaks the fourth wall to ensure viewers are in the know about the players and situations. While it's fun to play spot the cameo star as well.

Martin Hannett: Too Big For Death.

As a "big" fan of New Order I find the only thing that irks greatly with the film is the short amount of camera time and credence given to the band. The Joy Division years are covered greatly, and rightly so, but New Order's prominent impact on the era, and that on Factory Records and The Hacienda, is relegated to tiny visual snippets and snatches of narration. Someone in the producing department has failed to grasp that they were the most important band of the time in relation to Tony Wilson and The Hacienda years. The other to get short shrift is producer Martin Hannett, here expertly portrayed by Andy Serkis. Early in the piece Coogan's Wilson tells us that Martin Hannett is one of only two geniuses to feature in this story, yet we never get to know about it. It's right that Hannett's sad and tragic demise is followed from beginning to end, but where's the glory of his producing skills? Without him Joy Division and New Order would have been just good bands instead of "great" bands, this really needed to be pressed home to the unitiated.

C'est la vie, I'm sure there are many other fans of "movers" who were prominent around this time who feel they deserved narrative time. So we can't have it all eh? Top film regardless, fascinatingly constructed and with an astute handle on the time, it's essential viewing for British music fans. 9/10
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