24 Hour Party People is a film from
local director Michael Winterbottom ('Welcome To Saraevo" and
"Jude"). It tells the story of Factory Records through
the eyes of it's creator, Granada TV presenter, Tony Wilson (played
by Steve Coogan).
Over its 14 years of life, Factory
Records launched lots of the bands that made Manchester the world's
pop musical capital. Many are featured heavily in the film, including
Joy Division, New Order, and The Happy Mondays (whose song the film
is named after).
The film is centred around Tony Wilson
(or Anthony H. as he now likes to be called), and the part he played
in building Madchester, the musical movement of the early 1990's.
Filmed almost entirely on location
in Manchester, 24 Hour Party People also tells the story of the
infamous Haçienda nightclub which was rebuilt in a studio
especially for filming. The original building was actually demolished
a month before the film's UK release; another fine mess from Manchester
City Council's planning department.
the film starts at The Free Trade
Hall in Manchester, 1976, where the life of Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan)
changes forever when he sees a little-known band called the Sex
Pistols perform live on stage. Overnight he sets up New Wave label,
Factory Records, and signs up his first group, Joy Division.
After the suicide of singer Ian Curtis
(played by Sean Harris) in 1980, Joy Division became New Order,
whose hits include Blue Monday, Regret, and True Faith. Star of
BBC sitcom 'The Royle Family', Ralf Little, plays bass player Peter
Hook whilst John Simm takes the role of Bernard Sumner, Ian Curtis'
replacement as lead singer.
What follows is a tale of music,
sex, drugs, and the most famous nightclub in the world, The Haçienda.
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 Madchester the place in the world that you would
most like to be.
It isn't a dry rockumentary, though
- it's an irreverent musical-comedy extravaganza that follows the
course of British pop from New Wave to rave. Taking an irreverent
scattergun approach, Winterbottom squeezes literally everything
of importance into the film: Joy Division singer Ian Curtis' death;
the opening of the Haçienda; the arrival of the Happy Mondays; and
the collapse of Factory Records' business empire. It's a wonderful
nostalgia trip, full of comic asides (Coogan plays Tony Wilson superbly,
offering lots of straight-to-camera monologues and bitchy comments)
and a host of cameos from some of the real movers and shakers of
the Manchester scene.
whilst the film covers many aspects
of The Factory story, various elements are made up or 'glorified'
for the film. With the decadance that surrounded the label, especially
The Happy Mondays, it's hard to determine what's true and what isn't.
Perhaps the best way is to buy Tony Wilson's autobiography in which
he tells the same story from his point of view.
Brilliantly realised and hilariously
funny, "24 Hour Party People" is great fun. Don't miss it.
"24 Hour Party People" opens in UK
cinemas on Friday 5th April 2002.