Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom, 2002. Revolution Films, Baby Cow Films, The Film Consortium, Film Council, FilmFour, Wave Pictures. Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Andrew Eaton. Production Design by Mark Tildesley. Costume Design by Steven Noble, Natalie Ward. Film Editing by Trevor Waite. Cannes Film Festival 2002.
The punk music scene’s emergence from Manchester in the 1970s is the main subject of this mockumentary by director Michael Winterbottom. It centres on the story of British television personality Tony Wilson, who featured such bands as the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie And The Banshees on his popular variety show program before becoming a concert exhibition master himself. The first half of the story, which deals with his experiences managing punk band Joy Division (later to become New Order) is the superior portion of the film, which divulges great information on the characters involved (mainly Wilson and Joy Division’s lead singer Ian Curtis, played brilliantly by Sean Harris). When you get into the film’s second act, where Wilson manages Happy Mondays, starts his company Factory Records and discovers the birth of rave culture, the screenplay gets shallow and loses the intimate beat of its characterizations, winding down to an overdue ending and leaving a bad taste in its audience’s mouth. Still, the music soundtrack throughout is excellent, as is Steve Coogan‘s acting in the lead role. Also stars Shirley Henderson as Wilson’s second wife and John Simm as New Order’s second lead vocalist Bernard Sumner.