Manchester 1976: Cambridge educated Tony Wilson, Granada TV presenter, is at a Sex Pistols gig. Totally inspired by this pivotal moment in music history, he and his friends set up a record label, Factory Records, signing first Joy Division (who go on to become New Order) then James and the Happy Mondays, who all become seminal artists of their time. What ensues is a tale of music, sex, drugs, larger-than-life characters, and the birth of one of the most famous dance clubs in the world, The Hacienda - a mecca for clubbers as famous as the likes of Studio 54. Graphically depicting the music and dance heritage of Manchester from the late 70's to the early 90's, this comedy documents the vibrancy that made Mad-chester the place in the world that you would most like to be.
This magnificent ode to Factory Records tracks the rise and fall of that postpunk label. The film's central figure is Factory's co-founder and journalist turned postpunk impresario, Tony Wilson, played with a stinging, unctuous vitality by Steve Coogan. Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the picture is an illustrated history as related by Mr. Wilson. Every time he opens his mouth, it's a roaming, hilarious monologue about Factory, by which he means himself. In some ways, it's a power-pop docu-comedy version of "The Kid Stays in the Picture," the story of a man recreating the world around him in his own image. And like the mogul Robert Evans, Mr. Wilson's talent is taste. — Elvis Mitchell
2002-08-09 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of 24 Hour Party People