24 Hour Party People : I’ll just say one word: Icarus

24 Hour Party People

I’ll just say one word: ‘Icarus’. If you get it, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. But you should probably read more.

I’ll just be quick and introduce myself before the proper review, this being my first here. My name is Philip Mak, long time friend of Frank, and while I may not see nearly as many movies as him I can at least say I thought American Beauty was flawed even before it was popular to shit on it (and yes I aware of what regard it’s held here). Anyways I’m not exactly sure what type of movies I’ll review but I’m guessing there maybe some documentaries and foreign movies, I’ll start with 24 Hour Party People.

24 Hour Party People is a tour through the Manchester music epoch from the Sex Pistol’s Punk to The Happy Monday’s dance music. Our guide is Tony Wilson, a minor TV personality who does goofy news reports for a local TV station. Wilson who’s played by the ever amazing Steve Coogan, who while only recently has been featured in American movies, to which one could easily argue have not effectively displayed his talents, had been going strong in England for some time. Here Coogan gives an amazing comedic performance and is for me at least the biggest draw to the film. Not to say that the movie is not effective or uninteresting, the opposite in fact. From the type of graphic choices that are used to show the year with its graffiti like graphics to the way the scenes capture a time frame being covered. The director Micheal Winterbottom doesn’t strive to give a bland expected documentation of the era either, instead he has Coogan constantly breaking the fourth wall with insights about what the moment meant of just simply for a lark. Winterbottom also casts the actual people from the time even at times refuting what Tony Wilson just said.

This is a rise and fall story mind you; as all music movies seem to be, from Tony Wilson first showcasing the rising music scene on his local TV show to later creating his own music label and eventually opening a club. But even though in the end factory records, the label Wilson starts, falls apart it matches the type of anti-establishment never sell out attitude the artists that were signed to the label had. They never made the artist sign over rights to their songs and the first contract was written in blood. When the club eventually falls apart Coogan’s character seems as cavalier as ever proclaiming to the crowd on the last night, that they should feel free to loot and take whatever they want.

To be frankly honest I’m neither a fan of the esticitc of early 80s early 90s graphic design dominated by off colors and graffiti like deconstruction. Nor do I like the purity of post punk that is played by the bands Joy Division even if I do like the bands they’ve inspired even today; ie interpol, the killers, yeasayer. But all that doesn’t matter, the way in which the era is so well defined and the characters perfectly crazy and off hinged topped off by the aforementioned amazing performance of Coogan.

In the end if you want a look into what the movie is all about just watch the first scene.

Here you get a lot of what the movie is about, weird moments that are delightfully stupid matched with Coogan breaking the forth wall to describe what the audience should expect. I highly recommend it if you enjoy music movies and even more if you like the fourth wall breaking in High Fidelity.


4 thoughts on “24 Hour Party People : I’ll just say one word: Icarus”

  1. I had a blast with this movie and Coogan was great, even if his character is kind of a dick when it comes to being a family man. Good review, man. I need to see this again.

  2. Oh, I do love this movie. It just subverts all music biopics, as it’s, y’know, interesting. And funny and self-depractating and outright admits that its main character isn’t the main character at all, just a guy to ease us into the three parts.

    Lovely review.

  3. “American Beauty” never made me wet my pants the way it made everyone else soil theirs. But I WILL fight to the death anyone who says Chris Cooper wasn’t flippin’ awesome in that film.

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