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on 6 February 2003
The story of Factory Records & the Hacienda is a long and complex one, full of urban myths and legends, humour, tragedy and some of the best music ever made.
Inevitably, the film struggles to contain its vast subject matter and was apparently edited down from 3 hours. In the end, Michael Winterbottom has made a film which reflects the myth and the truth of Factory in equal measures. The film leaps wildly from hyper-realism (The Hacienda interior is re-created down to the last brick, even inviting back the original punters to re-create the atmosphere for one last time) to pure fantasy (Happy Mondays trip to Barbados is re-created as a scene from Robinson Crusoe).
The film features so many enigmatic characters, and several who deserve a bio-pic of their own. Shaun Ryder and the late Rob Gretton, Ian Curtis and Martin Hannett.
To narrow the scope, the film is “seen” through the eyes of Tony Wilson, although on the DVD commentary, Wilson points out that he has fought tooth and nail to have some scenes left out which he insists are entirely untrue. Bizarrely, Wilson still holds down a job as a respected newsreader on Granada TV despite the film depicting him romping with prostitutes and taking copious amounts of drugs. The film itself makes some playful contrasts between Wilson’s life as TV presenter, and that as director of a chaotic, anarchic record label and nightclub. We cut from Wilson living it up on the tour bus with Happy Mondays, to Wilson conducting a banal interview with a pensioner for local TV news.
Like Factory, the film is messy, inconsistent and bloody-minded. But like Factory, it looks great and the music is good. Coogan is great, if a little Partridge-esque as Wilson. Paddy Considine captures New Order’s late manager, Rob Gretton to perfection. There are funny little cameo appearances from everyone from Peter Kay to Howard Devoto, some wonderful period re-creations of 80s Manchester, and a few moments of genius.
Just to have a feature film on this subject is astonishing in itself.
And on the DVD, 8 hours of extras. Perhaps best is the commentary from Wilson himself, which is intelligent, funny and insightful. You also get a commentary from Coogan and the Director, short interviews with many of the people involved with Factory and the Manchester music scene, 24 clips from the cutting-room floor, trailers, a New Order video featuring John Simm. And on the second disc, Wilson conducts a fascinating interview Peter Saville, whose beautiful designs were such an integral part of Factory and influence the aesthetic of Manchester music, culture and clubland to this day. Also on the disc is a documentary about Michael Winterbottom and a video commentary from various associated persons such as New Order’s Peter Hook. This is a little bit hit & miss, as they really spend most of the film reminiscing about the Hacienda rather than commenting on the film itself. Its quite entertaining though, and it does feature the great Bruce Mitchell, drummer with Durutti Column and a man who wasn’t in the film despite the fact that he was present at every event featured. He even did the lighting for the Sex Pistols gig that opens the film.
All in all, a good value for money package. The extras really add to your enjoyment of the film, especially if you are unfamiliar with the context of the film and the whole Factory and Hacienda story.
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on 19 February 2008
This tells the story of Factory records, the record label started in the late 1970's by the enterprising Tony Wilson, whose death has recently reverberated through the music business. In this film, Tony is played by Steve Coogan, who manages to capture some of Wilson's Cambridge arrogance, yet also much of his childlike enthusiasm for music and less than perfect money-management skills.

Wanting to put Manchester on the musical map seemed to be Tony Wilson's main motivation right from the off, and shortly after the formation of factory records, signing various bands. Some of them aren't so well recognised today, such as 'A Certain Ratio', but some of them, such as 'Joy Division', went on to become one of the most influential bands of the post-punk era. A lot of this was down to the eccentric producer Martin Hannett, who worked in such a fearlessly authentic way that Joy Division's debut 'Unknown Pleasures', went on to become one of the most unique, distinctive and authentic records of all time. Which is just as well considering how difficult to please Hannett was - even going so far as to make Joy Division drummer Stephen Morris do his drumming on the roof.

The premise of Factory Records was simple: it was all about art, rather than profits. In this sense, Tony Wilson was a spectacularly inept businessman, but his commitment to music, nurturing new talent, and focusing on artistic output was unwavering.

After the tragic suicide of Ian Curtis in 1980, Wilson's next venture was 'The Hacienda', an ultra-modern nightclub in which Wilson got a whole host of musical acts from all corner of the music business to perform. These included The Smiths, Happy Mondays and various others.

It is at this point in the film that a lot of heavy drug use begins to occur, when Wilson takes the morally bankrupt Happy Mondays under his wing. Despite being warned against this, he is convinced that the Monday's lead singer Shaun Ryder is a genius. The Monday's go on to blow millions of pounds of drugs and a holiday in Barbados, nearly bringing Factory Records to it's knees on several occasions.

This film is superbly directed and skilfully acted. It features a whole host of great Manchester-based actors, all of whom add a certain Mancunian authenticity to the film. All in all, it beautifully explores the trials and tribulations of Tony Wilson, plus the failures and successes of his often naive business ventures, all of which were designed to make Manchester the centre of the music business. For many years, they succeeded.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2012
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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on 23 July 2006
Top class hilarity with the daft mancs from down the road. Shaun Ryder making 3000 pigeons rain down over the crap below, what's wrong with that? He'd fed these pigeons bread laced with rat poison. He went down that same road without ever veering off, despite some close pals and relatives telling him to calm it a bit, and out came the Happy Mondays ; for which we are all (and if not should all be) eternally grateful. There's some problems with the film such as the late great genius that was Sir Ian of Curtis portrayed as hanging himself from the ceiling in front of the telly whereas his wife (who found him) says he was in the kitchen tied to a drawer and just sat down to die. I think I'll take her word over Anthony H Wilsons (Brilliantly portrayed by the best we've got - Steve Coogan). Look...... If you were there, or wished to have been there at the hacienda, or if you've owned records by the happy mondays, black grape, new order or joy division, this film is right up your street so buy it on amazon.
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on 1 May 2015
I'd not seen this film originally, but a friend recommended it and I wasn't disappointed as I grew up in this era and went to the Hacienda in Manchester in the mid 80's.

Steve Coogan does a great job of portraying Tony Wilson and manages to capture the humour, madness and eccentric nature of the business from start to finish. From his appearances on Granada to his dealings with bands that go on to have huge success, there is an almost frantic madness, coupled with a passion and enjoyment that kept me enthralled throughout the film.

The portrayal of Joy Division and especially Ian Curtis (well played IMO by Sean Harris) is graphic, clever and intense. You certainly get a feel for the music of the time, as well as the scene in Manchester.

If you're thinking of watching this film, do so.
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on 1 February 2003
As a Mancunian who was in mid-teens when Factory started and a fan of Joy Division at the time (and still am), I was a little sceptical of the film beforehand.
It seemed to gloss over Ian Curtis' death very quickly but I suppose the film is more about Factory's legacy than just Joy Division's. Personnaly I believe this event was the most significant in the time frame of the film but there was a lot to cover so I'm not complaining too much.
I'd heard a lot of comments about Steve Coogan's portrail of Tony Wilson and the apparent similarity with his Alan Partridge character. As someone who was dragged up watching Granada Reports and Tony Wilson's often eccentric reporting performances, I thought Steve's effort was fantastic. There were many moments in the film where I thought he had got T.W.'s character/mannerisms absolutely right.
Unfortunately, the drugs-rave-Happy Monday's scene passed me by at the time so that half of the film was not quite as relevant to me, but I remember very well the shooting incidents and controversy at the time. I was surprised that the Stone Roses barely rated a mention.
Overall I thought the film was a good effort, very funny in parts and the reminder of Ian's death had me wiping tears away.
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on 22 December 2015
I loved this, my only problem is not enough New Order. Some people have a problem with Steve Coogan, I thought he was perfect. The 2 disc dvd has a lot of extras, I have started watching the commentary with the real Tony Wilson which is interesting. If your not interested in the music and times don't watch it!
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on 17 May 2014
Having grown up with Tony Wilson on the telly, I was pleased to see that Coogan captured his personality perfectly.

The whole film is slightly "tongue in cheek" with elements of fantasy, but the story is mostly accurate and very entertaining.
The set of The Hacienda is recreated perfectly, the character portrayals are excellent and the whole film is a fun and nostalgic trip.
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on 2 May 2003
I believe when choosing a DVD these days, the film can disappoint and the DVD make up for its flaws (or vice versa). This is one film where I felt slightly disapponted on the first viewing, only to be uplifted and overjoyed by the DVD. It really is the whole story of Factory Records and Tony Wilson and any fan of either should buy it.
So should those who appreciate a critical appraisal of film-making. The DVD makes up with critical commentaries and extras that involve the real subjects themselves so that the film becomes an issue in itself. By listening to the commentary of Mr Wilson, you find out more amazing facts than the film which rather than overpowers it, enhances it and gives you an insight into both the film-makers minds and the protagonists.
New information can be pieced togther with the original cutting to make up a somewhat astounding story (I remember Tony Wilson on Granada Reports but had no idea of the links with this story).
If you thought the film was a bland comedy I understand, but if you make it through the extras on the DVD you will find a fascinating insight into a movement of music (in the eyes of the creator) and a passion for what people believe in.
Overall the DVD transforms a reasonable comedy into a very interesting documentary. There are loads of nuggets of trivia throughout. At one point Tony Wilson admits on the commentary that there was no last night of the Hacienda until this film was made. The set was so good that he considers the filming set-up to be the ultimate night. Not many DVDs give this kind of stuff away.
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on 16 December 2012
Though many have compared it to the likes of 'Studio 54' (Lord knows why), '24 Hour Party People' is a far better made and more effective film. Based on a true story, it takes place during the time when punk rock was subsiding and new kinds of music were born in England. Shot with a digital camera, in documentary style with some use of live footage and narrated by Tony Wilson, (who leads a double life as a TV reporter and music producer), Michael Winterbottom takes us into the rave culture in Manchester, that of sex, drugs and rock and roll. We see it all from Wilson's point of view and we are amused by the layers of his character. Coogan breathes life into Tony Wilson and brings an excellent humor in his portrayal. Paddy Considine and Shirley Henderson stand out too. Pretty much all the performances appear authentic. Watch out for cameos by Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Marsha Thomason and by real band members. The portrayal of the Manchester culture, the scenes inside the club and the bands look very real. Winterbottom infuses loads of energy and craze to 'seduce' the viewer. He cleverly injects dry humor which only supports that this is more than just a documentary-like movie. The soundtrack is a must-have and for those who love movies about music, this is a must see.
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