24 Hour Party People (UK, 2002)

the sould of 'Madchester'

Tony Wilson: the soul of 'Madchester'

‘Postmodern playfulness’ is usually simply irritating but with a scene where Tony Wilson’s wife is having revenge sex in a toilet (Tony points out he only got a blow job but that’s full penetration) with Howard Devoto, of the Buzzcocks, and the real Howard Devoto is a playing a cleaner who comments ‘I don’t remember that’ and Steve Coogan’s voice over narration is quoting John Ford about ‘printing the legend’… you know this film is going to be fun.

Such ‘confusion’ is ideal to portray the ‘mad’ Manchester of the ’80s. The film focuses of Tony Wilson who was the catalyst for Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub; both important cultural events. The film’s brilliant at showing the often surreal quality of life: Ian Curtis’ epileptic fit whilst National Front bastards are rioting; Wilson’s invited into a brothel in the back of a car; the ‘sheepdog’ duck he reports upon in his day job for Granada Reports and so on.

One blogger complains that as a ‘docu-drama’ (presumably he meant dramadoc) it doesn’t show enough of the bands. That’s not the point of the film, although Tony Wilson says ‘this film’s not about me’ it obviously is. Watch Control (2007) for a fantastic portrayal of Joy Division (the scene where Ian Curtis visits Wilson’s home occurs in both) but watch this for a taste of what it might have been like at the time to be involved with Wilson.

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One Response

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I think Steve Coogan portrays the weird, neurotic side of Wilson brilliantly, and Andy Serkis plays Martin Hannett in a fantastic fashion (the scene where he’s recording silence is great).
    I particularly like how Curtis is stated as not always being a pessimistic, depressed sod.

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