"24 Hour Party People" spends so much time inflating the personality of its main character that it fumbles the stories of the new-wave bands that it's supposed to be about.
By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
In "24 Hour Party People" the Manchester, England, music slash club scene circa 1980 is put under the microscope by director Michael
Winterbottom ("The Claim"). Unfortunately he forgot to take the lens cap off! Winterbottom's film is one of worst docu-dramas to have wobbled
down the M1 in a long time.
It purports to tell the story of one Cambridge-educated Tony Wilson, a hack Granada TV reporter who established
Factory Records (label of Joy Division, The Happy Mondays, and New Order to name a few) and, later, the Hacienda, an insanely popular,
Ecstasy-laden money pit of a dance club, after witnessing the Sex Pistols perform live a seminal moment to be sure.
|24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE|
|Directed by: Michael Winterbottom.|
Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Cast: Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Andy Serkis, Keith Allen, Dan Hope, Enzo Cilenti, Ron Cook, Danny Cunningham, Nick Clarke, Paul Popplewell, Rob Brydon, Steve Carver, Chris Coghill, Ralf Little, Sean Harris, Tim Horrocks, Peter Kay, John Simm, Paddy Considine, Lennie James, Tony Wilson..
Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
"But this film isn't about
me," Wilson reminds us. Unfortunately it is, and there's hardly a frame of celluloid that doesn't feature British comedian Steve Coogan up close
and personal as the obnoxious pratt Wilson (who, we learn, is still alive and kicking today, still working for Granada TV and still, no doubt, making
dumb and pretentious asides every chance he gets sorry Tony!).
Wilson's overextended character isn't the main reason to avoid the film,
however, it's Winterbottom's incomprehensible approach to the material. I mean, what's the point of introducing cool live footage of, say, The
Buzzcocks or The Jam with wobbly, psychedelic-colored captions that YOU CAN'T EVEN READ?
"24 Hour Party People" should have been
fascinating, electric, helping us to understand, perhaps, why Ian Curtis (played here with skeletal freakishness by Sean Harris) might have killed
himself. Instead, it's a joyless division of fractured historical perspective, name performers in cute cameos (that's the real Howard Devoto in the
bog at The Factory watching Wilson's wife having it off with his namesake, for example), and heavyhanded attempts to aggrandize anything that
moves, like a sheep-herding duck, flying saucers, or a red squiggly conference table that cost thirty grand. File under D for dreck.
|AUGUST 21, 2002|
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