Director: Michael Winterbottom
Year Released: 2002
This one's grown on me over the years, and my previous review didn't quite get to the bottom of how remarkably free-spirited and inspirational this movie really is - this is certainly evidence (I'm channeling you, the late, great Ms. Kael) that your memory can make or break some films and that second viewings can be necessary. The main character, the larger-than-life TV personality and wit Tony Wilson (played with magnificent poise by Steve Coogan) is something of a British Cassavetes, toiling at odd television jobs to fund his private passions (night clubs and record production), armed with an idiosyncratic view of himself and his world and having had memorized more than a few of Bartlett's Popular Quotations (and read a good share of books). He's such a brilliant and dynamic lead it's hard to take your eyes off him, and he acts as a charming, knowing guide through Manchester, some of its most famous bands he promoted and befriended (Joy Division and the Happy Mondays especially), his failed relationships and flings and his musings on life. Winterbottom's visually dynamic representation of a unique time and place - and of lives lived 'outside the box' - is assured pseudo-documentary filmmaking.