MOVIE: OASIS: SUPERSONIC
STARRING: NOEL GALLAGHER; LIAM GALLAGHER; PAUL “BONEHEAD” ARTHURS
DIRECTED BY: MAT WHITECROSS
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
It's hard to say what place the band Oasis will hold in the history of rock & roll music. Right now, I think it's somewhere behind Green Day and slightly ahead of The Smashing Pumpkins. I will say though, after watching the new documentary Oasis: Supersonic, I was reminded of the impact that this alt-90's group had on music, powered by the talented bickering brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher. Fueled by their controversial attitude towards the press covering them, equipped with moody attitudes when performing live, and drug filled tours, Oasis scorched the earth, shocking the ears of those who listened to them. The final result is one of the best groups of the era that did not reach its full potential.
Director Mat Whitecross lays out a pretty simple process for documenting the Oasis story: let the band tell it all and show some of the moments they shared behind the scenes. The narrations come from a collection of people involved and surrounding the band, that includes the three Gallagher brothers, their mother Peggy Gallagher, bass guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs, and manager Alan McGee. Each one gives a wide range of thoughts and information, but instead of telling a full rise and fall tale, the story begins from the bands creation in 1991 and follows them to their high point of success in their hit albums Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. It makes for an informative telling, but also a feel that the surface has only been scratched.
Although the bar was set high last year, director Asif Kapadia, who's an executive producer here, showed the entire world how a documentary about a music star was done in his Oscar winning- Amy. Kapadia got down to the very soul of the subject matter, by generating a newfound appreciation for Amy Winehouse's music and shining a light on the struggles of addiction in a life that was lost far too soon. Supersonic views the destructive behavior of the Gallagher's as part of the bands creative process, even though it burned the candle at both ends. Whitecross glosses over those toxic details and let's us see that with the bad boy behavior, came brilliant music making. The most fascinating moment is footage of Liam recording "Champaign Supernova" in between stops at the pub like it's a passing fancy. They were natural talents, and this documentary makes that clear.
The problems with Supersonic is the lack of poking and prodding. Our subjects are not afraid to acknowledge the group's multiple problems, including the blowback from the Gallagher angst leading to band members leaving, and one former mate taking legal action. The pressures of fame affected the group, where Noel explains his shock to see fans knowing their music more than he did, but the film stops short of the multiple issues that would follow. A band like Oasis can't be sugarcoated, but Supersonic comes close to succeeding at it.
Either way, I left from Oasis: Supersonic with a higher understanding of how talented this Brit-rock band was. I often found their sound to be too similar of an attempt to be The Beatles, but we can't ignore this groups natural talent, playing by their own rules, and earning the respect they deserve today. If director Mat Whitecross's intention was to prove to the world that Oasis should be mentioned in a collection of some of the rock group greats, he makes a pretty strong case. I think I am going to re-visit their albums with a newfound appreciation and maybe the next documentary will dig into the real nitty gritty. For now though, I won't look back in anger, I'll just enjoy the Oasis.
Written by: Leo Brady