Published Oct 25, 2016They've got impeccable, timeless fashion sense, a knack for brilliant pop songwriting and two foul-mouthed brothers who hate one another; if there's ever been a rock band begging for the documentary treatment, it's Oasis. With Supersonic, we finally get a taste of the band's story — though we're still left wanting more.
Responsible for the Ian Dury documentary Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll as well as the Stone Roses-themed fictional flick Spike Island, filmmaker Mat Whitecross seems as qualified as anyone to bring the Gallagher brothers' story to the screen. And working within his rigid timeframe, he does a bang-up job.
The film follows Oasis from their formation through their career-high concert at Knebworth in 1996, eschewing the standard talking-head format in favour of interview audio paired with heavily edited behind-the-scenes footage, TV appearances and live performances. The result is a film that feels truly immersive, as we watch the events unfold in real time.
That said, one begins to understand why the sit-down interview format has become such a documentary mainstay — it helps contextualize the subjects. It would have been nice to see Noel and Liam (along with their family members) in the present day as they describe the past, as after a while without it, the archival footage starts to feel a little claustrophobic.
Fortunately, the footage is so detailed that it really does carry the film. We get to see shots of the band's first performances, watch them rehearse behind the scenes and marvel at their seemingly unmatched cockiness in early interviews. Stranger yet, the voiceovers from the band reveal a knowing humility about their career and work that rarely surfaces in interviews.
With its unparalleled access and in-depth look at their most successful era, Supersonic is certainly a must-watch film for Oasis diehards and chancers alike. And yet, one can't help but feel like it's over before the band get truly interesting. Here's hoping this doc does well enough to warrant another one that picks up in the tumultuous post-(What's the Story) Morning Glory? years, complete with hateful in-fighting and creative confusion. Until then, Supersonic is a worthy Oasis documentary.