‘Oasis: Supernova’ fizzles out before its time
By Kaely Monahan
Like a story cut from the imagination of a screenwriter Oasis: Supersonic delves into the unreal back story of the biggest band of the ‘90s. Artfully directed by Mat Whitecross, the documentary dives into the whirlwind chaos that is Oasis with the same fizziness as champagne.
While visually engaging at first, Whitecross starts to overplay his hand when the film takes on the look of something like a long credits montage. Old film footage, voice recordings, and kitschy animations flesh out the documentary.
Oasis is certainly one of the most memorable bands prior to the digital age of music—and a tantalizing focal point for a documentary. Their dramatic rise to stardom is like watching a rocket launch into space then exploded. Hailed by some as the bad boy version of the Beatles, Oasis came bursting out of Manchester with a vengeance to reach for the stars and beyond.
The band members mostly voice the film with Liam and Noel Gallagher taking the lead. Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs, Tony McCarroll and Paul McGuigan also lend their perspective. The main drama swirls around the two brothers, Noel and Liam whose personalities are in some ways larger than life.
Noel describes himself as a cat while he says Liam is a dog. A lion is probably a better moniker for the narcissistic guitarist-songwriter. He was driven to lead and if anyone disagreed with him then there was trouble—and Liam knew exactly how to get under his brother’s skin.
The film opens with the 1996 concert at Knebworth before jumping back into time to the band’s origins. The story then skims over childhood, alluding to an upbringing by a single mother who does get a few opportunities to share her thoughts. The Gallagher’s father is absent both in voice and in the story. He’s hardly mentioned until the end of the documentary.
We see meteoric rise of the band and get a glimpse of some of the genius behind the songwriting. But everything remains surface level and it stays that way throughout the entire film. Whitecross seems unwilling to dive into the drama that is clearly there. Instead, he rolls around the rim of the Gallagher brother’s lives, relying instead on glitzy images, snide laughter and shrugs. The film is like sipping cheap champagne when it should be Dom Pérignon.
The film does bear a resemblance to Amy, which makes sense as the producers of that documentary produced this one. However, unlike Amy, Oasis: Supersonic feels a bit more out of control and less revealing. This could be deliberate as the band itself seemed to be roiling lake of lava prone to explosions. Perhaps working with the band members today is still a rollercoaster experience.
Oddly the film never touches on what exactly happened to the band after that 1996 concert. We’re left empty handed though the film is just over two hours long. Like some drug-art experiment Oasis: Supernova tries to reach for a deeper meaning behind one of the top bands of the last millennia. But it fails to truly dredge up the drama of this rocket-bottle band.
• Kaely Monahan is a journalist, graduate of City University London and the creator of Popcorn Fan Film Reviews. Follow her @PopcornFans and @KaelyMonahan.