Manchester 1976: Cambridge educated Tony Wilson, Granada TV presenter, is at a Sex Pistols gig. Totally inspired by this pivotal moment in music history, he and his friends set up a record label, Factory Records, signing first Joy Division (who go on to become New Order) then James and the Happy Mondays, who all become seminal artists of their time. What ensues is a tale of music, sex, drugs, larger-than-life characters, and the birth of one of the most famous dance clubs in the world, The Hacienda - a mecca for clubbers as famous as the likes of Studio 54. Graphically depicting the music and dance heritage of Manchester from the late 70's to the early 90's, this comedy documents the vibrancy that made Mad-chester the place in the world that you would most like to be.Written by
When Steve Coogan first started doing stand-up comedy, he performed at the Hacienda in 1986. He recounts in his autobiography that he was stunned when he first saw the Hacienda set while shooting the film, due to how faithfully they had recreated the building. See more »
In the opening hang-gliding sequence, the design on the glider changes between close-ups and long shots (the long shots are of Tony Wilson himself during the actual event that is being portrayed). See more »
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the latest craze sweeping the Pennines, and I've got to be honest, I'd rather be sweeping the Pennines right now.
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I get the general sense from reading some of the reviews that people didn't like this movie because it didn't provide any instant gratification or personal meaning. That's probably true for people who don't know Joy Division, New Order, or the Happy Mondays, but I think it's totally unfair to discredit this film on a basis of a lack of prior knowledge. Many great films and novels aren't great because you get them on the first try, and I think that this movie follows the same path. If you didn't like it the first time, take a look at an old Tony Wilson interview or a concert tape of Joy Division and you will instantly see the quality production and acting that went into this film. Ian Curtis/Joy Division are portrayed with an eerily haunting accuracy (down to the instruments they play, which are rumoured to be the originals from the late 1970s) and you can tell that the cast really did their homework. The concert scenes are spectacularly energetic, the sets (especially the Hacienda) are ripped right out of the time period. Comic relief isn't overlooked, as the dry humour of Steve Coogan and the rest of the cast is pursued to the dime. The unscripted dialogue is also quite good, which is another indication of the actors' homework. This movie is worth the time: it details a very important time and place in pop music history that is often overlooked in the wake of much larger, more commercialized scenes. Rave and post-punk may be fading today, but one need only take a look at the charts to see its influence. Go out and get this movie, learn a little about it, and you will be impressed.
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