Coming of age in ’90s New Zealand felt as if I lived in Britain. The Royal family were basically the Kardashians of the era, everyone watched Coronation Street and the music was all Brit-Pop. This may be triggering to some but I hate the Beatles, and being a 9/10 year old girl when they hit big, Oasis were essentially my Beatles. I still hate the Beatles and yes I realise the guitar at the beginning of Don’t Look Back in Anger clearly rips of that annoying Imagine song. I get it. I hear T-Rex and Bowie, but even if they are a tad derivative they definitely had their own sound.
Supersonic tells the story of Oasis‘ rise to fame and the troubles they had along the way. The best aspect of the documentary is that the band and those closest to them narrate the story. This works well seeing that the two brothers don’t talk to each other anymore and there’s no tedious talking-head footage, just lots of great footage of early rehearsals, live shows, recording sessions and touring drama.
I was never going to hate this documentary, so to be objective it’s not a really in-depth documentary but in a way it focuses on the right parts of Oasis‘ story. It doesn’t go into the brothers’ personal lives (apart from family upbringing) and keeps everything related to the band. It is quite focused on their rise to fame and not much else. It mostly covers the ’93-’96 era, but they had another five albums and it does feel like the documentary ends abruptly. I don’t know why but I half expected to see the two brothers reunite. They haven’t been in the same room since 2009 and it felt like it would have been a good time for them to get over their egos and get back to what matters. Director Mat Whitehouse has since said they are going to reunite, perhaps Vince Vaughn had something to do with it.
The film doesn’t shy away from the tabloid side of things, I guess being so young when they came out I missed a lot of this stuff in the news. I thought they were just a more home-grown boy band as opposed to bubble-gum pop so it was also interesting to see the Sex Pistols-esque shenanigans they got up to in Holland and their disaster show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go after being up all night on a crystal meth binge. I knew the Gallaghers had ego issues but it was interesting to see their dynamic more in depth. Liam is more reckless and Noel more of a control freak and man do they clash hard, it’s quite sad to watch two people who should be so close just completely screw things up. Noel compares Liam to a dog who always needs to be played with while he was more of a cat which means he’s a bastard. Or as it’s better put “Noel has a lot of buttons, Liam a lot of fingers”.
This is a must own for any fan of the band, if you know the story already it’s worth it for the archival footage alone. I didn’t really know much about how they rose to fame but die-hard fans will probably want to see and hear the story again. For those more interested in 90s culture I’d recommend watching Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop along with this film as I think Supersonic kind of fails to show how they defined an era and contributed to a cultural movement.
In the end you can’t really go wrong with this documentary. I bet you’ll be well mad for it.
There’s a 30 minute interview with director Mat Whitecross where he discusses why he made the film, how we got involved and an audio interview with Oasis.