Saturday 22 October 2016

Review: Supersonic

Cert: 15 / 117 mins / Dir. Mat Whitecross / Trailer

Yeah, a documentary about a band's drunken exploits twenty years ago was the most experimental film I watched that day. I'm the guy who goes to Leicester Square during the opening weekend of the London Film Festival and sees regular screenings of general release films. Look, Cineworld weren't showing any of the LFF entries that day, and I've got that card for a reason, y'know…

Anyway. I'd almost (almost) forgotten how gloriously narcissistic the Gallagher brothers were (are). Mat Whitecross' retrospective documentary is an extensive wading through the Oasis video and audio archives running from their pre-formation days when Noel was a mere roadie for the Inspiral Carpets, up to their near-legendary 1996 gigs at Knebworth. With voice-over interviews from the band and close associates, the film tells a chaotic story seamlessly, without external narration; everything here is down to trust in the film-maker, reminiscences and interpretations, and fantastic (plus exhaustive) editing.

On the next tier down from (let's be fair) fanboy treasure-troving, the film shows a pair of young men trying to express anger and frustration through indie-music (albeit with dirty production values), when most kids would choose metal as their social weapon-of-choice. Their backup plan of booze and drugs seems pretty universal, though. The story of Oasis' early days exists in a unique time. Before the age where the minutiae of self-shot-video and information could be widely shared online, but when analogue-tech was commonplace enough that plenty of behind-the-scenes footage was recorded (and not by everyone in the room, as it is now). And it was a time when new music still excited me, unlike the jaded, middle-aged film-bore I've become*1. The music in Supersonic gave me goosebumps, and it's not like I don't listen to the first two Oasis albums any more…

For anyone who's ever been in a band, that film in April brought us the adrenaline of playing in a strange town, the film in May brought us the heart, and this film in October brings us the sweat, the tears, the bad language and broken furniture.

Whitecross' film is candid, self-effacing and, in places, blisteringly funny (I haven't heard a cinema audience guffaw this much since Deadpool). At times there's even a dusting of humility in there, although that never lasts for long, obviously. Best line is awarded to Noel, with "What can I say, y'know? I'm a bit of a cunt."

If you like Oasis, you'll love Supersonic.
If you don't like Oasis, you'll despise Supersonic.

The film shows the band at their very best and very worst, which is quite often the same thing…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Oasis, really.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Well the problem (if you see it as a problem (and, to be fair, I do)) is that of the pre-digital era, the majority of archive-footage is from VHS or camcorder tapes, so looks like shit. That particular aspect of the film will work much better in your living room.

Although if you're the two patrons in the row behind me who chattered and sang along for the whole movie, you could just pretend the cinema is your living room, anyway…

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
I'm ashamed to tell you that I can't really say, as I haven't seen enough of Mat Whitecross' work to know.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Director Mat Whitecross was the man behind 2010's Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, starring Andy 'Snoke' Serkis.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Although to be fair, I get equally - if not more - excited by films, now. And I intake way more new movies (and in more genres) than I did new albums, back in the day. What I'm trying to say is that present-day me is fantastic and past-me was a bit of a dick. Future-me's up his own arse, though…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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