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Supersonic

Directed by Mat Whitecross

UK, 2016

HOME, 8 October 2016

Supersonic

We begin and end with the concert at Knebworth in 1996, Oasis’s crowning moment.

In between then this documentary looks at the band’s career from its very early beginnings on a Manchester council estate, and it is a perilous journey. The band’s fraught dynamic arose out of the troubled relationship between Noel and Liam, and that in turn had its roots in the brothers’ rejection of their violent father. ‘He beat the talent into me,’ Noel says at one point: a strange remark, almost as though he is giving credit to his father or expressing gratitude for the beatings he took. Noel took the blows but witnessing the beatings seems to have affected Liam more deeply. There is a tragedy here, a family story that has not yet been fully told.

You come away from the film with a renewed respect for Noel, both because of his focus and discipline and because he was the creative force behind the band. If Oasis’s songs endure – and they likely will – it will have been his achievement above all. It is a surprising portrait of Noel in another respect as well. We (or I, at any rate) often think of him as a cocky Manc always ready with a glib jibe, which is how he comes across in public, but he’s not always like that. Here he is a bit of a loner, writing songs on a guitar while the rest of the band are down the pub. (Lennon had McCartney to write with, Noel was on his own.) In early footage from when he was with Inspiral Carpets he is a skinny young guy, slightly nerdy looking, with shoulder length hair. A self-taught guitarist who is serious about his music, and how could he not be?

This is a fine film, though it raises as many questions as it answers.

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