24 Hour Party People
The in-crowd. Tony and Lindsay (Coogan and Henderson) attend the Sex Pistol's first Manchester gig.
dir Michael Winterbottom
scr Frank Cottrell Boyce
with Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine, Andy Serkis, Lennie James, Danny Cunningham, Sean Harris, Kate Magowan, John Simm, Ron Cook, John Thomson, Keith Allen
release UK 5.Apr.02; US 9.Aug.02
02/UK 2h00

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
love will tear us apart The story of the Manchester music scene over the past 25 years is told in a cheeky style with Tony Wilson (Coogan) walking us through the story with equal parts comedy, drama and music. TV journalist/music impresario Wilson was the driving force behind the Manchester music scene of the '70s and '80s, which gave the world the likes of Joy Division (later New Order) and the Happy Mondays. The film follows Wilson and his Factory Records gang through these tumultuous years of musical discovery, partying at the Hacienda, sex, drugs, debauchery, etc.

Coogan's sheer personality and humour keep us involved in the film, which suffers from the usual Winterbottom/Boyce problems--the narrative and characters are jumbled and hard to follow without prior knowledge about the time, place and people. Even so, it's fascinating to watch these characters spiral out of control, all the while maintaining a sort of naive artistic integrity. The period is wonderfully recreated, and Coogan continually lifts us out of the "action" with post-modern asides that are both hilarious and telling. He also knows how to find a tiny detail--twitch, pause, arched eyebrow--to say much more than any amount of dialog would. And the surrounding cast are also excellent, with some rather eerie look-alikes in higher profile roles. This is a rare mock-doc that actually tries a discinctly new approach ... and it works, even if the drama never really grabs hold. And while the whole thing seems a bit too self-important and self-aware, it's still energetic, funny, surprisingly informative and rather insightful in its examination of an important place and time.
themes, language, nudity, drugs cert 15 28.Feb.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
love will tear us apart send your review to Shadows... "Rather than attempt to be an historically (or chronologically) accurate portrayal of the rise and fall of Factory Records, this film focusses instead on recapturing the spirit and the vibe of the 'Madchester' scene at a time when the city was experiencing something of a cultural renaissance. Having Steve Coogan cast as Factory mogul Tony Wilson is something of a masterstroke. Coogan expertly captures all the nuances of Wilson's personality, the egomania combined with high ideals, his undoubted wit and intelligence but astonishing lack of common sense - he complains about the prohibitive cost of running the Hacienda nightclub, then goes and spends thirty grand on a table. The only part of the film that didn't work for me was the unsympathetic portrayal of Ian Curtis' suicide, which should never have left the cutting room floor. That one gripe aside, there are plenty of memorable moments in this film, and combined with the smashing soundtrack on offer, is a great way to relive those heady hedonistic days." --TJ Hatton, Essex 16.Apr.02

"**** Brilliant cinema verite style look at 80s Manchester and Factory Records. Winterbottom's best film to date intercuts archival footage of New Order, Joy Division and the Happy Mondays. A must see for anyone who loved alternative 80s UK tunes." --Gawain McLachlan, Filmnet, Melbourne 14.Mar.03

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall