Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
24 Hour Party People (2002)

Manchester, 1976. The life of Granada TV presenter Tony Wilson (Coogan) changes forever when he sees a little-known band called the Sex Pistols perform live on stage. Overnight he sets up New Wave label Factory Records and signs up his first group, Joy Division.

Fast forward to 1988. Yellow smiley faces have replaced the flares and there's a non-stop cry of "aciiiieed!" in the air. Manchester has become "Mad-chester" and the face of pop music has been changed forever.

Michael Winterbottom's digital video film about the rise and fall of Factory Records charts the ups and downs of a whole era of music, from 1976 to 1992, with spectacular results.

This isn't some dry rockumentary, though - it's an irreverent musical-comedy extravaganza that follows the course of British pop from New Wave to rave, like some demented version of Monty Python meets Top of the Pops.

Taking an irreverent scattergun approach, Winterbottom squeezes literally everything of importance into the film: Joy Division singer Ian Curtis' death; the opening of the Haçienda; the arrival of the Happy Mondays; and the collapse of Factory Records' business empire.

It's a wonderful nostalgia trip, full of comic asides (Coogan plays Tony Wilson superbly, offering lots of straight-to-camera monologues and bitchy comments) and a host of cameos from some of the real movers and shakers of the Manchester scene.

Brilliantly realised and hilariously funny, "24 Hour Party People" is great fun. Don't miss it.

End Credits

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Stars: Steve Coogan, Lennie James, Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine, John Simm, Danny Cunningham, Ralf Little, Sean Harris

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical

Length: 117 minutes

Cinema: 05 April 2002

Country: UK

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