To some of us who were around in the 1990s, the rise of Oasis was a phenomenon to behold. With Supersonic, which also just happens to be the title of the Manchester band’s debut single, Mat Whitecross has put together a documentary that looks to capture all of the spirit, attitude, arguments, angst, and euphoria that was viewed and felt by so many as Oasis rose to prominence.
What we have here is a look at a moment in time – one that largely focusses on the Definitely, Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? years – as we see Oasis go from their infancy of not even having a record deal, to playing their legendary Knebworth gigs to 250,000 people just 2 1/2 years later. Along the way, we see the bands early days of playing to crowds of one man and his dog, we hear about their signing to Alan McGee’s Creation label, their (in)famous behaviour that caused a media circus to follow them wherever they went, the in-fighting that threatened to destroy the band at so many turns, and we even get some moments of genuine warmth and heartbreak as we take a rarely-seen exploration into the family life of the Gallaghers. And throughout it all, we get to hear archived and all-new comments from the likes of Noel and Liam, Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs, manager Marcus Russell, producer Owen Morris, and many more.
With Supersonic, Mat Whitecross has put together something simply mesmerising. As the documentary starts with the instantly-recognisable Columbia, you’ll find yourself absolutely hooked as memories begin to flood back and you’re taken on an all-encompassing ride that makes you remember just what made this legendary band so special in the first place. For better or worse, Supersonic doesn’t skip on any of the details, delivering all involved in a way that lays bare what really went on as Oasis exploded to superstardom. Full of charm, wit, humour, and honesty, Whitecross doesn’t forcibly paint anyone as a saint, nor does he frame anybody as a sinner. What we get is an open, genuine view of the key players involved in this period of Oasis’ life, and it’s left to the viewers to make up their own minds. But this isn't a documentary made for judgemental purposes, this is a celebration.
To many of us, our days of wearing parkas, growing out our hair, and practising our perfect swagger mean that we’re likely pre-programmed to want to enjoy Supersonic regardless of how good it actually is. Fear not though, for it’s good. It’s really, really good. Excellent, in fact. Rarely has a music documentary been so fascinating, so appealing, so engaging, and so flat-out enjoyable for both fans and non-fans of a band or artist. Whether you loved Oasis, hated Oasis, or have no real opinion on the world’s last truly iconic band (yeah, we said it), Supersonic will still manage to grab your attention from its opening moments, refusing to let you go as it takes you through a rip-roaring rise to superstardom that was initially started as a mission to rid the world of the likes of Sting and Phil Collins.
As is said during the documentary, “Oasis was like a Ferrari. Great to look at, great to drive, and it'll fucking spin out of control every now and again.” Here we get to ride shotgun on this drive, as Mat Whitecross reignites a spark that you may have thought had long left you. A feature put together and edited in the ideal way for its topic, Supersonic is a poignant, perfect summation of one of British music’s greatest ever bands and one of its true forces of nature.
“People will never ever forget how you made them feel,” says Noel Gallagher at one point towards the end of Supersonic. Right now, having watched this documentary several times over, we’re certainly feeling supersonic. Now, where’s that gin and tonic…
Special Features: Deleted scenes / Behind the scenes galleries / Trailer
SUPERSONIC / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MAT WHITECROSS / STARRING: LIAM GALLAGHER, NOEL GALLAGHER, PAUL ARTHURS, TONY MCCARROLL, ALAN MCGEE, MARK COYLE, OWEN MORRIS, MARCUS RUSSELL