Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

24 Hour Party People

"The smaller the attendance the bigger the history. There were 12 people at the last supper. Half a dozen at Kitty Hawk. Archimedes was on his own in the bath. "
-Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson on 24 Hour Party People

Have you ever seen a movie that you can't believe that none of your friends have seen it because it is, in your opinion, utterly fantastic? The film I have in mind is 24 Hour Party People, and if you've passed this one over, you ought to backtrack a bit and check it out.

Initially, Michael Winterbottom's kinetic, bumpy, and altogether messy directing style may overwhelm or turn some viewers off. But the film is about yet another drug-addled movement in music--this one being evolution of punk and rave culture in England--and what better way to portray it?

I've never been a raver, but the film manages to find an appeal to Manchester and it's rave culture somewhere within me. "This is the moment," Steve Coogan says directly to the camera, "when even the white man starts dancing."

Maybe I'll never actually get into the rave scene. Actually, not "maybe," but DEFINITELY. What I think I find so appealing about this film's portrayal, is the subtle, nuanced performances and each character's unique relationship to the culture of music that surrounds them. Plus, the hilarious banter in the film is almost worthy of Monty Python. Steve Coogan ought to be a huge star--his performance here is impeccable. This comedian can truly act. Also worth watching is Andy Serkis, who has given physicality a name in much the same way Buster Keaton did (Serkis will go on to provide the movements for Gollum in LOTR and also King Kong).

What I think works most is the fact that such subtle performances take place within an atmosphere of extreme drug use, loud music, and unbridled sexuality. I like the juxtaposition.

If, like everybody I know, you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend you do. If you did and were disappointed, give it another chance.


At 8:26 PM, Blogger mist1 said...

I went to one rave. One. It was enough. Someone brought a raw chicken to the event. It was passed around all evening. People danced with it. People bought drugs from it. People made out with it. At the end of the night it was in the bathroom sink.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

One of my favorite tapes is by the Happy Mondays (Pills, Thrills, Chills, & Bellyaches). They were an instrumental part of "24 Hour Pary People." I'm not sure if the two brothers in the band are alive or if they overdosed on heroin.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

I have this in the pipeline to see. It reminds me to post something about the Philadelphia raves I sampled in graduate school. And the now-defunct Motor Lounge, a sort of ravish techno-crazy club.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Danny Tagalog said...

It's a good one, and the "pigeon" scene just about sums the Mondays mentality up, genius loose music though they made.

I attended the Hacienda on a few occasions. I just had to be there to pay respect, and once had all my Wrigley's spearmint gum opened for traces of drugs. After which I proceeded to dance the night away.

The film is good, but I wish there had been more Mark E. Smith clips shown...


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