Movie Review: 24 Hour Party People

February 26, 2003

Director ? Michael Winterbottom

Producer ? Andrew Eaton

Writer – Frank Cottrel Boyce

Running Time ? 115 mins (MA)

?This is the highly charged and moving story of the spectacular rise and fall of Manchester?s factory records, stable for Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays and the infamous Hacienda nightclub.?

24 Hour Party People is a brilliant tale about people?s lives and the events that occurred around one of the most pivotal eras in music history.

One of the most captivating aspects of this film is they way it documents people and personalities so sensitively and accurately. 24 Hour Party People paints Manchester?s musical landscape, its heroes and its vibrancy from the late 70?s punk scene to the early 90?s.

The story begins in 1976 with TV presenter Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) and his wife Lindsey (Shirly Henderson) at a Sex Pistols gig in Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. As the camera pans the room some of the most influential artists of the time are revealed – the Buzzcocks, a young Mick Hucknall and the band members of The Stiff Kittens, soon to become Joy Division. ?There are just forty two people in the audience, but every one of them is feeding on the power and strength and magic,? says an inspired Wilson who watches in awe as the Pistols exude their raw energy into a wired crowd.

Tony?s experience at the Sex Pistols gig motivates him to team up with friend Alan Erasmus (Lennie James) and start their own nightclub as a place where local bands can play live music. It?s at the club that they meet band manager Rob Gretton (Paddy Considine) and set up Factory Records. Wilson then signs Joy Division, James Durrati Column and A Certain Ratio. These artists went on to become highly influential legends across two of the most exciting pop cultural events in recent music history, the birth of punk and the explosion of rave culture.

Joy Division?s debut album Unknown Pleasures and their singles, Atmosphere, Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart created a whole new sound that paved the way for similarly influential bands of the 80s and 90s – The Pixies, Nirvana and many more. Following the death of front man Ian Curtis, Joy Division was reincarnated as New Order in 1980, releasing Blue Monday in 1983. Despite the fact that Blue Monday becomes the biggest selling 12? single of all time, each album sold by Factory Records actually loses 5 pence due to it?s expensive sleeve (designed by Pete Saville).

On May 21 1982 Tony opened the Hacienda nightclub and it goes on to become one of the most famous dance clubs in the world. At Hacienda Battle of the Bands a set played by the Happy Mondays strikes a chord with Tony Wilson and he signs the band fronted by Shaun Ryder (Danny Cunningham.) One of the most comical scenes in the film happens shortly after when The Happy Mondays go into the recording studio with Joy Division producer Martin Hannet (Andy Serkis) at the wheel.

Meanwhile back at the club, things start to change. The pill-popping acid house scene takes over and crime in the club is rife. The Party is about to end for the Hacienda.

The film is so rich and so much more happens but we don?t want to be party poopers and spoil all the treats. Most of the actors? performances are incredible, having to climb into the characters of real musical heroes. In particular Sean Harris, Steve Coogan and Andy Serkis ooze talent.

Date of Release March 20

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