24 Hour Party People
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Supremely entertaining, amazingly true story of the raucous music scene in Manchester, England- circa 1979-1992 and the man, Tony Wilson and the bands behind the movement that changed the history of pop culture forever. Wilson, as played brilliantly by Steve Coogan, narrates the movie; which has a fast paced, unconventional style of narrative in which Wilson speaks directly to the audience and explains what's going on. He basically has to, because it is often hard to tell what has just happened or what is happening from moment to moment. Surprisingly enough, this type of narrative works very well and adds a certain flair that accompanies the visceral, in-your-face style of filming, perfectly. It helps if you know something about some of the bands shown in the film (Joy Division, New Order,The Happy Mondays) or if you at least have a vague interest in learning about them. Of course, it also works on a basic comedic level too- with frenetic party scenes fueled by sex, drugs and pulsating new wave music. Though it is a film about the rise and fall of an empire - the treatment of the material is basically tongue-in-cheek and hilarious more often than thought provoking. This isn't SID & NANCY, after all- and despite a moving and very powerful eulogy to Ian Curtis (lead singer of Joy Division who hung himself in 1980), this isn't a cautionary tale at all. In fact, it's the opposite - a complete satiric parody of true events, that at their time had to be intense and somewhat tragic. It's refreshing, though, to see this type of film- free from moralizing and horrific drug withdrawal sequences, that only wishes to entertain and to tell its twisted tale. Entertaining, it is (to say the least), fast paced and extremely witty; with enough awesome music and actual archival footage of great bands in their prime to make any fan of sex, drugs and rock n roll salivate. Highly recommended.
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