Oasis: Supersonic (2016)


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Supersonic is the 2016 documentary film about British rock band Oasis, which was made with some involvement from Asif Kapadia, the guy responsible for the incredible Amy Winehouse documentary Amy (which by the by, I reviewed last January here). Because I loved the film Amy and the fact that for a good decade of my life I was a huuuuge Oasis fan (not so much nowadays), I couldn’t wait to watch this.

And nostalgia alone was enough to get me hugely excited as Supersonic began. I’m not really a fan of the band anymore and I’m the first to admit / accuse of them of making some shit albums before they AT LAST broke up for good, after years of ‘kind of’ breaking up, cancelling concerts, petty arguments and bad music.

But at their peak and during those couple of years in the mid-90s when they released their first two albums – ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ Oasis were the absolute dogs bollocks and they were at that time, the best band in the country. Blur fans may disagree but for a time Oasis did rule the roost.

album-oasis-definitely-maybe

And that’s one of the main things you get from the documentary – the fact that musically, Oasis weren’t anything hugely special (they were just lads from a council estate who clearly liked The Stone Roses). But they – the band and especially Liam and Noel Gallagher (the two brothers who founded Oasis) – just had something, a raw and exciting quality, something really special that seemed to be rock and roll personified. And that’s what Supersonic shows us – how Oasis were a band from a Manchester council estate who (somehow) made the best rock and roll tunes of the decade.

The only real portrait painted is that of the brothers – Liam and Noel. A little about their background and a lot about their close, yet tumultuous relationship which has always been a subject in the press. Noel was the ‘talented one’, the quieter, older brother who spent his teenage years playing the guitar in his bedroom and writing songs. Ultimately Noel was the backbone of the band, but it’s true that without Liam – his arrogance, tambourine and bad boy good looks – Oasis wouldn’t have been the same great band they were.

liam-and-noel-gallagher-o-002

I felt Supersonic missed some of the detail and intimacy that some documentaries offer, but in fairness I already knew about the Gallagher relationship so some of that background was less of a revelation, though still interesting. And there’s some brilliant footage (until now unseen) – both musical and just the band larking about as young blokes which I enjoyed. The documentary was made in the same way as Amy, using archive footage with narrative voice overs – mainly the Gallagher brothers though various family and band members speak as well. The brothers talk about being young, doing gigs, taking drugs (so many drugs), music of course and fighting…of course. Along with the video clips which include live footage of Oasis performing, the overall effect is pretty good.

And so true to the band itself, Supersonic is about as rock and roll as a documentary can get. It only focuses on a few years of Oasis’ fame and ends on their biggest gig – Knebworth 1996 (where they played to 250,000 people). Though there’s really another fifteen years of sketchy albums and diva tantrums, I do get why the makers did it like that. Supersonic isn’t supposed to be an intimate portrait, there’s no inside goss about their marriages or ‘childhood friends’ talking about what they were like in school. It just shows the shear magnitude of fame that Oasis had at one point, and how they quite literally ruled the Britpop and indie music scene. Supersonic just wanted to remind us how great Oasis once were and it was nice to be reminded.

Whilst it probably did go on a little too long (at just over two hours, I was ready when it ended) I did enjoy Supersonic immensely. As well as being a great trip down nostalgia lane it was just super nice (see what I did there) to remember how exiting Oasis once were and how fucking good they used to be. They made some weird decisions later in the day, they poor albums and seemed to change for the worst. But Supersonic is a mark of respect to their heyday, when they truly were the best band in the world.

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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16 Responses to Oasis: Supersonic (2016)

  1. I was never was a big fan of their music, but their story intrigues me. They only had 2 hits in the States – Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova, but I was aware that they were huge in the U.K. I’ll have to check this out. I still need to watch Amy too.

    • emmakwall says:

      Amy is brilliant! Far better than this 🙂 I watched it again recently, it’s far more personal and touching, more interesting to anyone, even people not into her music. The Oasis documentary is far less personal and concentrates more on the music side. I know you love your music though! They were a great band in their prime:) Champagne Supervova is a classic! So is Wonderwall but so overplayed 🙂

      • Speaking of documentaries, or should I say Rockumentaries, we are recording a podcast tonight about This is Spinal Tap. What do you think of that one? I love it, but I don’t know if it’s more of a guy thing

  2. Pingback: Films I Watched In: December (and a look at the whole of 2016) | emmakwall (explains it all)

  3. Zoë says:

    Great review! I have been wondering about this one. Maybe I should check it.

  4. Love Oasis, so I gotta check this out. Great write-up Ems!

  5. MIB says:

    Nice write up. 🙂

    I was ensnared by the Oasis honey trap of the 1990’s too but I got fed up with the brothers’ bad behaviour and the repetition of the music by the third album. I usually enjoy a good music retrospective but I think I’d have to be in the right mood to watch this one.

    • emmakwall says:

      Definitely watch it when you’re in the right mood 🙂 if only for the nostalgia of Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story, the doc never goes beyond Be Hear Now.

      And the same happened with me though it took a little longer 🙂 I got sick of their attitude in the end (and poor albums!!)

      Thanks 🙂

  6. deKE says:

    Nice review…I enjoyed the Documentary as I always enjoy watching a good train wreck on video! Wish they would have delved into Be Here Now…perhaps a second Doc in the making?

  7. I liked them like everyone else- they had the pulse of the world, it seemed, for a solid few years, at least in the 1990s. You can’t separate the 90s alternative music from them. They kind of remind me of the 80s version of Duran Duran in terms of populatirty, prettiness, catchy songs, etc. I have been wondering about this documentary. Thanks for covering it, Emma.

  8. beetleypete says:

    You were obviously a huge fan. Julie liked them too.
    I have an idea you might guess my own feelings, but I will add them anyway, in the interests of ‘debate’. I actually quite liked their music. (I liked Blur too of course, more ‘Southern)’. They were obviously Beatles wannabees, but had undoubted talent, (Noel at least) especially in songwriting. ‘Wonderwall’ is a truly marvellous song.
    However, the grumpy unibrow mop-head look did nothing for me. (Naturally) On top of that, Liam’s arrogance was not only cultivated and staged on occasion, it just wasn’t necessary. And when he let his guard down, we saw the real person, undoubtedly.
    I actually had some brief dealings with Liam, when he was married to Patsy Kensit, and living in London near Little Venice. I was in my ambulance, and called to the address where they lived, to deal with someone else who was there at the time. Patsy was polite, despite being upset. He was just as you might have expected. Horrible. It was only a few minutes, but enough to show his real personality.
    I won’t be watching the documentary, but I have no doubt many will enjoy it. 🙂
    As ever, Pete. XXX

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