Tuesday, October 22, 2013

24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)

Post-punk is my favorite genre of music (one of these days, I must get back to my series of posts on The Fall, possibly my favorite band), and Michael Winterbottom's glibly self-referential, knowingly material work is not only the greatest possible snapshot of that freewheeling mini-era of music in the wake of punk's return to zero, but maybe the single best evocation of a musically defined time period put to film. Hilariously funny, the film's put-upon, sad-sack nature fits its subject well, not only quixotic Factory Records head Tony Wilson but the broader post-punk movement, which infiltrated pop charts with subversively catchy rhythms before becoming simply the new pop, period, intellectual exercises ultimately hoisted on their own petard. There's something grimly amusing about the film being at its brightest when misery purveyors Joy Division start to gain traction and at its lowest when ecstasy hits the clubs, but that's the contradictory, witty way of the film in a nutshell.

Read my full review at Spectrum Culture.

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