24 Hour Party People
Directed by Michael Winterbottom 2002
This is the seminal Brit mockumentary about the movement from punk to rave culture, establishing the Manchester music scene of the late 70s/early 80s. It pulsates with the excitement of the times with the electrifying introduction of the Sex Pistols onto the scene, a musical counter culture backlash to the fascism of Thatchers England. What followed was some of the most influential music of the century with the formation of bands like the Clash, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, the Buzzcocks, the Smiths, New Order, the Stone Roses...
Tony Wilson (Steven Coogan), cheesy TV reporter and musical entrepreneur, comically narrates us through the uber cool creation of the eccentric Factory Records, to the rise and fall of his Hacienda nightclub:
This is it the start of a movement, the birth of rave culture. This is a time when even the white man starts dancing!
He is an unabashed con man, arrogant, pompous, Cambridge educated with a true artistic idealism that ultimately mastered the music zeitgeist of the times, transforming Manchester into the indie music capital of the world.
Coogans performance is charming and hilarious as he engages us in the more gritty and intimate exploits of his marriage, his bad business decisions, the suicide of Joy Divisions Ian Curtis and the drug riddled insanity of his non-contract negotiations with the notorious Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays. Even if you were not a fan of the musical genre, Winterbottom (Jude, Wonderland, A Mighty Heart) manages to conduct a symphony of scenes that furnish new insight into the last truly great era of British youth culture. Shot in a variety of formats, 24 Hour Party People is as cinematically exuberant as the music it portrays.
It is honest, spirited, unsentimental and packs genuine emotion, bounding along at an excellent pace with a taut and witty script that dovetails perfectly into the exceptionally brilliant soundtrack.