Supersonic review – Oasis pop history lesson ignores battles

The excitement of Noel and Liam Gallagher’s rapid rise to pop stardom is well captured in Mat Whitecross’s documentary, but it is disappointingly coy on the band’s decline and breakup

Here is a watchable, intimate but oddly truncated history of Oasis, directed by Mat Whitecross, who gave us the recent Madchester drama Spike Island and the excellent Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Noel Gallagher is the film’s executive producer, and it should probably be entitled Oasis: The Golden Years, because it ends with the band’s colossal concert at Knebworth in 1996, almost implying they went up in a blaze of glory after that.

We don’t hear about the Cool Britannia tussle with Blur, or Noel’s strikingly explicit endorsement of Tony Blair and New Labour (“There are seven people in here who are givin’ hope to the young people of this country. Me, our kid, Guigsy, Bonehead, Alan White, Alan McGee ... and Tony Blair”); nor the long decline into acrimony after that.

Watch the trailer for Supersonic

This documentary uses a collage of archive material — TV clips, milky analogue home video — accompanied by off-screen narration from the main players including Noel and Liam. It’s impossible not to be excited all over again by the band’s stunningly swift success; the two brothers are naturally funny comics, and it’s like cracking open a time-capsule to hear Liam’s compellingly lovely nasal-siren voice.

As for the legendary brother-on-brother love-hate chemistry which turned to hate-hate … well, maybe the film could have been less coy about the role played by money. As the songwriter, Noel got paid more than the charismatic front man Liam. Entertaining stuff — but odd to see the years 1996-2009 airbrushed out of history.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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