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24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE

SYNOPSIS:
Cambridge educated Granada tv presenter, Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) is one of a handful of people attending an early Sex Pistols gig in Manchester in 1976. Inspired by this moment in rock history, he and some friends set up a unique record label, Factory Records, which signs a declaration in blood; it shall not bind its artists nor own their works. They sign up Joy Division (who go on to become New Order), and then come Happy Mondays. Wilson and co also open the most ambitious dance club ever, The Hacienda. Itís popular, but loses money in large quantities. By November 1992, the partyís over.


Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With great verve and obvious affection for the mad bastards who started Factory Records, Michael Winterbottom has made a dramatic, engaging and totally frank film Ė with the apparent co-operation of the real and still very much alive Tony Wilson. The film is an honest look at the birth, rise and fall of these players in the Manchester music scene Ė a scene which was heard around the world. There was much anticipation around the filmís premiere at the Cannes film festival (2002) and the after party was one of the hottest tickets. Until after the party. A bit like the film, it couldnít live up to the high expectations. Steve Coogan does a terrific job as Wilson; whether itís accurate or not I donít know, but he certainly creates a three dimensional character whose generosity, enthusiasm and many flaws blend into a seamless but complex personality. The production design and costumes are above average, but youíd have to be a fan of the music to make all this into a movie highlight. For the average audience, itís interesting as a study of a botched dream, and stylistically adventurous, but it really rocks only for its aficionados.†

Review by Louise Keller:
Innovative cinema that hones in on the Manchester music scene with flair and raw energy, 24 Hour Party People lives up to its name with an irreverent and affectionate romp into the world of sex, drugs and rock Ďn roll. Structured as a pseudo doco and including two decades of musical and cultural history, itís certainly clever and while I wasnít totally engaged for all of the filmís running time, there are plenty of memorable moments. Of course if you are into the music, allís the better, as thereís plenty on display here, and the way the music is integrated is nothing short of brilliant. From a personal point of view, at the back of my mind, there is always that nagging question as to how pretentious some of the sequences actually are. Covering the period from 1976 to 1992, or Ďfrom the dawn of punk to the death of acidí, the script cleverly includes stories such as the Ian Curtis rockín roll suicide, the Happy Monday tale, but itís the pivotal role of the infamous Tony Wilson (wonderfully portrayed by Steve Coogan) that really grounds the film and makes it accessible. We first meet Wilson as he is just about to take off in a hang-gliding excursion. He is a novice and he crash-lands and curses and then gets the swing of it. A bit like the film really. Cooganís easy manner is laid-back and highly entertaining in a back-of-the-hand confidant sort of way. He is almost precious in the way that he takes himself seriously, but of course we donít. He is a great part of the entertainment. When you are making a film about a real period in music that involves real people, there are risks involved, but integrity is well maintained with newsreel footage integrated convincingly with the new footage. There are some interesting thoughts that are conveyed, such as the comparative number of people who attended the Last Summer or were present at Julius Caesarís murder, when assessing the value of the few in the audience. I can understand why some people will be wild about 24 Hour Party People Ė it is a wild party after all. But for me, I felt like a by-stander, albeit an interested one, appreciating the buzz and some of the eyebrow-raising moments, but feeling a little detached from it all.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

TRAILER

24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE (MA)
(UK)

CAST: Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Lennie James, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, John Simm, Ralf Little, Danny Cunningham, Andy Serkis

PRODUCER: Andrew Eaton

DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

SCRIPT: Frank Cottrell Boyce

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robby MŁller

EDITOR: Trevor Waite, Michael Winterbottom

MUSIC: various

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Tildesley

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 20, 2003







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