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24 Hour Party People /


Rated: R

Starring: Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Andy Serkis, Keith Allen, Dan Hope

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

Produced by: Andrew Eaton

Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Distributor: MGM/UA


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

     Embracing on the birth of punk, 24 Hour Party People chronicles the lives of the bands: Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays; all inspired by the Sex Pistols. Combining real clips with filmed ones, derived from a written plot, this is a beautiful accomplishment from director Michael Winterbottom. While I did enjoy watching video from British clubs, old recording studios, and the argumentative music industry, the film does have several flaws. The story tends to preoccupy itself with stupid stunts, performed by the main characters, that are funny, but mostly just plain stupid. This is an interesting and intriguing film, but it is nowhere near a great one. The performances are respectable, and the writing is top-notch, but we really have nothing else to rave about.


     Narrated by Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan), 24 Hour Party People more specifically follows the downfall of Factory Records. With a lose set of rules, written in the blood of Wilson, Factory’s end is mostly to blame for the freedom the company gave its recording artists. On this sheet of rules, Wilson and his co-founders basically stated that their clients had no contractual agreement, or mental obligation, to stay with Factory Records. Their distributor did not own their music, or have any control over it. The bands could take it, and carry it over to another company at any time. The punk, and drugged-up, society did not put limits on anything they did. The plummet of their companies was, more or less, guaranteed – even though they didn’t know it themselves.


     Lavishly rich in color, 24 Hour Party People’s authenticity is clearly made possible by its well-written screenplay and incredible performances. The best of these performances, however, comes from Steve Coogan – who could definitely be referred to as a cinematic breakthrough artist. His performance has undeniable depth, and he captures his character, the two-timing head of Factory Records, pitch perfectly. Many would think that it’s much easier to play the careless characters, than it is to play the ones with evident thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The real truth is it is much harder to play one of a mindless personality, whose true thoughts are expressed in rages of four letter words. Coogan plays the ladder, and is excellent in doing so. Is he Oscar worthy? Almost, but not quite.


     The visuals in 24 Hour Party People might be some of the most unnoticeable of recent years, but when looking closely, you can see how carefully placed together they really are. Michael Winterbottom’s direction is some of the most elegantly astounding that I have ever seen. The intertwining of real clips, and ones intended for the film is brilliant, and producer Andrew Eaton matches the two’s quality, so they appear as one. The credits, and opening “thank-yous” are also very intricately done, and ultimately set the mood for the entire film. This might not be the most exciting piece of work in the world, but it’s extremely interesting and captivating. There is a wide assortment of things that I can praise in it, and its versatility is admirable.


     24 Hour Party People will, indeed, satisfy. However, I’m not sure that it will live up to the high-expectations that most critics are creating for it. I like to see goofy, drugged-up jokers fuck off, but here I think it’s a little bit of an overdose, so to speak. This authentic representation is an accurate portrayal of the record industry thirty years ago, though. I enjoyed the direction, acting, and writing, which hold the film together quite professionally. 24 Hour Party People is, most of the time, very fun and interesting to watch. Is that enough for most people? -- is the question. It isn’t worth high praise, or any Oscar nods, but it is appreciable. It is plausible, even though it wouldn’t seem so, and even, at times, shows masterful qualities. For a laughable, and educative time, this one is a sure bet!


-Danny, Bucket Reviews



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