Claudia Leisinger


Director: Michael Winterbottom Starring: Steve Coogan, Paddy Considine, Shirley Henderson, Andy Serkis, John Simm Format: DVD

This history of Manchester’s Factory Records from 70’s punk to 90’s rave is a fizzing cocktail of pills, thrills and heartaches. Steve Coogan’s hapless, Partridge-esque impresario Tony Wilson guides us through a sly and riotous romp that junks the facts, fuels the legend and still unerringly captures the feel of a generation. Soundtrack’s not bad, either.

You’ll need about twenty-four hours to get through these two lovingly prepared discs, stuffed with more gear than a Happy Mondays’ dressing room. Disc One’s snappily designed menus (all titled after Factory songs) link to a trailer, New Order video, a ‘Sleeve Notes’ option for pop-up on-screen info and a batch of additional scenes, many the equal of anything in the final cut (see Best Extra). Steve Coogan and producer Andrew Eaton’s commentary stays fairly low-key, but Tony Wilson’s is, predictably, unintentionally hilarious. Bristling that the film unfairly turns him into a ‘pretentious twat’, his name-dropping, philosophy-quoting ramblings happily confirm it anyway. There’s also some Class A reminiscing from a scary-looking Shaun Ryder (‘basically we turned arsing about into an artform’), grinning corpse Bez and many others. Sorted.

Disc Two keeps the nostalgia flowing. ‘From the Factory Floor’ shows assorted Factory bods riffing on the good old days over a screening of the film and that man Wilson interviews Peter Saville about his acclaimed label artwork. Both features are really for anoraks only, and the mini-profile on Michael Winterbottom is sketchy, but these are minor quibbles to a DVD set capable of turning your front room into the Hacienda. You’ll be mad for it.

Film: * * * * (4) Disc: * * * * * (5)

'© Future Publishing 2003. No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.'