Film: Creation Stories (18)
- Credit: © 2020 CREATION STORIES LTD ALL
He lived his life in the city, there was no easy way out, but for two decades Alan McGee lived like a rock'n'roll star.
The story of how McGee (Bremner) went from a tough Glasgow upbringing to co-found Creation Records, discover Oasis and help to give the world The Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and Tony Blair is a whirl of booze, drugs and rock'n'roll taking us from glam rock to New Labour. It's almost teary-eyed with nostalgia.
As a genre, the record label boss biopic pretty much begins and ends with Twenty Four Hour Party People. The Michael Winterbottom film with Steve Coogan as Factory Records founder Anthony H. Wilson is the template here but they have omitted the self-reflexive irony. Wilson was an all-purpose stooge, Wise to any number of Morecambes. He was the conduit to tell the stories of some remarkable bands. Here, McGee is definitely the focus and the hero.
The film takes surprisingly little interest in the artists. A group of gangly youths stand in briefly for Oasis but they are there on sufferance and we are not encouraged to get too attached to them.
On the plus side it's exactly what you'd expect a McGee bio-pic co-written by Irvine Welsh and starring a cast member of Trainspotting to be. It's a bit cheap and cheerful but it's full of energy and humour, it's knowingly self-aggrandising but that's ok because the pinch of salt is thrown in for you. And Bremner is a marvellous McGee, probably better than the real one.
The film ends with McGee's endorsement of New Labour, a new dawn fading that seemed to take everything with it. Creation Stories covers punk, new romantics, acid house, Britpop and McGee's bold declaration that pop culture always reinvents itself. Yet clearly it doesn't. When he folded Creation in 1999 he was, inadvertently, calling time on the whole party and pulling up the ladder after him. Now, all we have left is survivors' memoirs like this – costume dramas for dispossessed rock'n'rollers. 3/5 stars.
Directed by Nick Moran. Starring Ewen Bremner, Leo Flanagan, Richard Jobson, Suki Waterhouse, Thomas Turgoose and Jason Isaacs. Available on Sky Cinema from March 20. Running time: 105 mins.
http://www.halfmanhalfcritic.com/ for a review of Indicator's blu-ray release of Crimewave, an early Sam Raimi/ Coen Brothers collaboration and 1934 screwball comedy Twentieth Century.