Creation Stories (2021) - 7/10
I feel I know a lot of the stories surrounding Alan McGee, Creation Records and the bands on their books, from Mary Chain to Oasis. But I’m intrigued as to how this biopic will handle it. A documentary would be one thing, with its own natural drama, surely injecting any extra energy would be… well, how is it? It’s slick and romanticised. Young Alan meeting Bobby Gillespie in Glasgow, pissing off his patriarchal dad by wearing eyeliner, dreaming of music and being a millionaire. It’s a world of drab 70s wallpaper covered in punk posters and an industrious young McGee (Leo Flanagan) looking to get a band off the ground after moving to London. It’s all very surface level stuff, but the 70s scenes are fun and energetic. So much so that they make the 90s stuff with Ewen Bremner as McGee feel a bit of a plod as he tells his story in a rather old fashioned post modern back and forth. McGee was a shit musician of course, but enthusiasm, fearlessness and a bit of dumb luck puts him into club nights and management. Enter The Jesus and Mary Chain. Loud and chaotic they were and are the perfect metaphor for this time and place. It’s this 80s period where Bremner does get to have some fun, channeling that wired energy of Spud in Trainspotting into the ginger musical alchemist at the birth of Creation Records. There’s also some bit parts for a dizzying array of faces including Micheal Socha and Thomas Turgoose (This is England), Steven Berkoff playing Aleister Crowley, Paul Kaye (criminally underused), Jason Flemyng, Ed Byrne, Jason Issacs (hello) and Danny John-Jules come close to stealing the show in one scene, Director Nick Moran doing a good Malcolm McLaren, Carl Barât, Irvine Walsh and Alistair McGowan with a spine chilling interpretation of Jimmy Saville, but this is very much a vehicle for Bremner to have fun with and it looks like he’s having a lot of it. Of course the music helps, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine and yes… Oasis. This does a good job of making you wait for that infamous gig and King Tuts and I’m nervous to see how it plays on screen, but you know what it lands really well with a mix of reenactment and archive, the energy of the band threatens the integrity of my speakers. It’s not a masterpiece or overly inventive, but there’s some great stuff and the cast rarely skip a beat. It’s well worth a watch and I’m left with a burning urge to listen to Psycho Candy, Screamadelica and Definitely Maybe as soon as possible. Granted it very comic book in tone, but it’s an entertaining love letter to McGee, his bands and an incredible snap shot of British music culture.