Oasis: Supersonic documentary film plays one night on Wed., Oct. 26 | FFW>>

Oasis: Supersonic documentary film plays one night on Wed., Oct. 26

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Oasis: Supersonic, directed by Mat Whitecross, follows brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher from humble Manchester beginnings, through the formation of Oasis in 1991, to the hectic early days of superstardom. Via copious amounts of footage — it seems that the group’s every move was video-recorded — band members, family members and various other involved parties tell the story without the help of an outside narrator. This approach gives the doc a feeling of intimacy and immediacy, and helps scale back the Behind the Music-y melodrama of the story arc. 

Noel and Liam Gallagher - COPYRIGHT JILL FURMANOVKSY
  • Copyright Jill Furmanovksy
  • Noel and Liam Gallagher
Of course, what everyone knows about Oasis is that: 1) frontman Liam and songwriter/guitarist Noel, didn’t get along very well, and 2) the band, or at least the brothers, had a thing for self-aggrandizement. The brothers’ occasionally violent rivalry is at the center of this narrative. Comparisons to Cain and Abel are made, and Noel says early on, “The band’s greatest struggle was the relationship between me and Liam. It’s also what drove it into the ground.” Manager Christine Mary Biller puts it better, and in terms anyone with a sibling can understand: “Noel has a lot of buttons, Liam has a lot of fingers.”

As for that second thing, cheeky claims of being bigger than The Beatles may have garnered attention for Oasis, but the weakness of this doc is, even as it baldly showcases the inflated egos of these drugged-up, volatile rock stars, it seems to buy into — or at least doesn't challenge —  their self-mythologizing. If you aren't already convinced of the timelessness of Oasis’s hits, you won’t likely be convinced by Noel’s vague “and then I wrote a song that changed everything” narrative. And overall, I wish the film had zoomed out on the larger zeitgeist of the era, giving more context to exactly why Oasis hit it so big.

From Spinal Tap to Documentary Now, the rockumentary parody is almost as ubiquitous as the earnest rock doc. And with characters as intentionally outrageous as the Gallaghers, the lines here feel especially blurred. That in itself makes Supersonic interesting to watch. Witnessing these heavy-browed blokes fully embrace the rock 'n' roll lifestyle feels indulgent by proxy — if Liam and Noel’s snotty bad-boy behavior feels cliché, it’s because they helped invent it.

Oasis: Supersonic. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Wed., Oct. 26. SouthSide Works Cinema, 425 Cinema Drive, South Side. 412-381-1681 or www.southsideworks.com. Also playing 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Wed., Oct. 26. The Manor Theater, 1729 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. 412-422-9851 or www.manorpgh.com

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