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The year is 1990, the rave scene has just entered England. The sound of the Stone roses lurks toward Shaun and the gang. This means that Woody and Lol are living in a domestic bliss, they are happy again. But this year will see huge changes in everyone. This is the year 1990. This is England.
Lyra Mae Thomas,
Christmas 1988. Soulmates, woody and Lol find themselves in exile from each other and the gang. Trying to understand the definition 'growing up', Shaun begins a course at College, that quickly takes the wrong turn.
2011. After 15+ years apart, the original members of iconic English band The Stone Roses - Ian Brown, John Squire, Alan "Reni" Wren and Gary "Mani" Mounfield - reform for a concert tour. Enlisting the film-making talents of director Shane Meadows (This is England, Dead Man's Shoes, A Room for Romeo Brass) this film documents their reunion, including initial meetings, practice sessions and the concerts themselves. There is also coverage of their 80/90s history. Written by
Shane Meadows has been very disciplined. A lifelong fan charged with covering the Stone Roses reunion tour, he could have made a film twice as long which would still have left the fans impatient for more.
Instead Meadows restricts himself to watching the band rehearse, play a warm-up gig in Warrington (the sweat-stained heart of the film) and then on tour across the world. The film finishes with the promised Heaton Park date, where slo-mo does real justice to the romance of the band's legacy. More than that, Meadows also allows the full extended closing jam, for which the band's EPs were held in such high regard from fan to critic alike.
It's just as well. The band were legendary because they were good, not just because they spawned a fashion movement, or behaved in the time- honoured manner of charismatic outfits before them. The film captures many other things besides, one of which is the age of the fans and shows just how long ago the late 1980s are now. For all the excitement & joy of a second coming, it's impossible to hide the calcifying effect of time; the film itself is already an anachronism, with Liam Gallagher waxing lyrical about Manchester City winning the Premier League (Manchester United had won it back before the film's release).
I was saddened and moved, ultimately for the best, in equal measure. But I'd have liked Meadows to have been able to capture more real drama; the footage of Ian Brown telling a Dutch audience that they're not getting an encore, sparks with the belligerence which took the band to the very top. It's just a pity the flames didn't flare as they once must have done. 6/10
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