Life story

Review: Creation Stories tells the story of the tumultuous and self-indulgent life of Scottish music industry man Alan McGee

Like only Danny Boyle (credited here as executive producer) and Irvine Welsh (who co-wrote the screenplay with Dean Cavanagh), Creation stories tells the story of the tumultuous and overindulgent life of Alan McGee, a young Scot who grew up in poverty but eventually gave birth to Creation Records when he was in his early twenties. This label in turn launched some of the biggest bands of the 1990s and beyond. It’s not just a rags-to-riches story; there were as many ups as there were downs. But in the end, McGee (Ewen Bremner, Trainspotting) lived out the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll fantasy he had always imagined and paid a heavy price for the privilege.

Directed by actor-turned-director Nick Moran (who makes a cameo appearance as Sex Pistols founder Malcolm McLaren) and based on McGee’s autobiography: Stories of Creation: Riots Raves and Running, Creation stories begins as the humble story of an outcast child (young Alan is played by Leo Flanagan) who loved music and even tried to be in a band. And even though that side of the music industry didn’t work out for him, he learned a thing or two about the industry and chose to be a manager instead. The scenes where Alan is belittled by his badass father (Richard Jobson) are heartbreaking, but they also pushed the young man to achieve what his father never believed he could, even though his mother secretly supported and encouraged him. .

The film’s framing device is an older McGee telling an American journalist (Suki Waterhouse) his life story for a magazine article while McGee is visiting Los Angeles on business – a trip that would be fateful for many. many reasons. All of this means that a large part of Creation stories is told in flashbacks, including all the meetings with the various groups that the label has made famous, including The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub, and, of course, Oasis.

It’s the reunion and early days of Oasis that get the most screen time, with Jason Flemyng playing a club promoter who reluctantly allows the Manchester-based band to play for 20 minutes on a slow night. McGee just happens to be in town and meets the Gallagher brothers (Leo Harvey-Elledge as Liam, James McClelland as Noel). It’s a perfectly staged moment with McGee ready to sign the band on the spot and Noel insisting he listen to their demo first. Around this time, McGee became involved in politics, primarily specifically recruiting his groups (including Oasis) to help elect Tony Blair as Prime Minister (McGee also chatted with Bill Clinton at times). That is, until Blair brought known deviants into his sphere of influence, happily knocking McGee out of favor.

At least according to the film, McGee’s health let him down on the trip to Los Angeles after an all-nighter with a sleazy movie producer (Jason Isaacs), and he ended up in the hospital, which has led to a long detoxification and a long convalescence. The final third of the film is a bit more serious, as her life loses much of its luster and the real world begins to shine for the first time since childhood. I had never considered Bremner a serious actor before this film, but he convincingly adds depth, humor and desperation to McGee, making him as complete a label character as you’re likely to find. in a movie about the rock business. Both he and the film surprised me, both in terms of ordering the chaos and the complete nature of its central figure.

The actors’ Scottish accents can seem inscrutable at times, but other than that the film deals with and indulges in every corner of McGee’s busy life (we haven’t even mentioned his romantic entanglements, or the odd twist of her friendship with the journalist takes years after their interview). With the exception of a sequence involving a bizarre mini-breakdown on a talk show, most of the film feels fundamentally honest and unwilling to gloss over the lowest points of his life. It’s a journey I knew nothing about, and I came away impressed with its true story and how this movie portrays those events.

The film is streaming now on AMC+ and is also available on VOD.

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