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Just the other day I heard the claim that music documentaries are really good when the audience can enjoy them even without caring for that particular type of music. 24 Hour Party People proves the point, even though it’s a faux-documentary, following the fate of  Manchester’s music scene and the iconic Factory club and factory records label. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson, founder or initiator of these clubs and labels, as he discovers and supports bands like Joy Division / New Order or the Happy Mondays. The former I know because their front man killed himself, their successors I know from exactly one song, the latter I never heard about. As with the rest of the music that the film features, or the lifestyle it depicts, I never cared much about.

Still, this film is fantastic. Steve Coogan makes my day almost every time I see him, certainly every time I see him in Michael Winterbottom’s productions (and I hear there is a second season of “The Trip” in the making, this will be one of my tv events of the year!). He chats with the movie audience, is very personal and close, never pretends to be likable per se, but seems to represent a very authentic crazy person dedicated to his city and that city’s music. As you would expect, this story is populated by an excess of weird people, dopeheads, “artists” (in the worst and in the best sense of the word), sex, drug and most prominently rock’n’roll (rave, sometimes, after Wilson invented it…).

Another bit of evidence that Winterbottom cannot fail me, that he is among the most interesting directors working today, and that he has an astonishing quality of output over the past decade.


  1. Some great one-liners in this movie! It definitely humanized some of the musicians, for better or worse. If you want to remember the bands as Gods, it might change your opinion on them. I agree this was enjoyable, regardless if you like the music. Have you seen Steve Coogan’s scene with Alfred Molina in Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)?-its probably my favorite segment from Jarmusch’s movie.

    • “Sorry I have to take that call, it’s Spike.” – “Spike Lee? Spike Lee is calling you???” – “Spike Jonez actually.” – “Spike Jonez is calling you??!!” Loved it 🙂

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