Supersonic review: Oasis documentary is pure blast of 90s nostalgia

The rags to riches story of the Gallagher brothers.

Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher of Oasis
Oasis Noel and Liam Gallagher Image Picture eOne

Supersonic
117 minutes (15)
★★★★

If history is penned by the victors, then Oasis documentary Supersonic has the Gallagher brothers’ hand writing all over it.

A loud, insightful and entertaining film from Spike Island’s Mat Whitecross, it charts Oasis’s rise from unsigned act through the making of Definitely Maybe, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and their sell-out Knebworth shows that saw them hold 250,000 people in the palm of their hand.

There are no tales of the group’s heated battles with Blur, their post-Be Here Now decline, or much analysis of their place in a wider cultural context, instead this is the Gallaghers off the the leash and (separately) narrating that moment in the 90s when they captured lightning in a bottle.

That’s not to say Supersonic isn’t honest – far from it. The siblings are brutally upfront about their arguments, which at one point during the recording of Morning Glory saw Noel hit Liam with a cricket bat.

It’s stories like these that make Supersonic a cut above the standard music documentary. The section about the group’s attempt to break the US, in particular, is full of gold.

Supersonic Oasis documentary
Noel Gallagher Wonderwall is now 21 years old Image Picture eOne

After one row too many, Noel abandoned the band and went to San Francisco to meet a girl he’d met at a previous gig. Sat up all night with the hippie chick, he poured out his heart and wrote Talk Tonight in a flash. On another occasion they mistook crystal meth for cocaine and ended up staying up for days and playing a shambolic gig in L.A.

The Gallaghers’ relationship is painted as one of mutual envy and, ultimately, the thing that destroyed the group. Noel had the brains and the creativity, but couldn’t stand the idea of Liam front and centre in the spotlight. Conversely, Liam craved the raw songwriting and musical talent Noel possessed.

Outside of the band’s stories are revelations about the brothers’ early life growing up in Burnage, chiefly how they both suffered at the hands of an abusive alcoholic father. The emotional scars run deep, and in Noel’s eyes he wouldn’t have made it had he not suffered through childhood.

With tears, tantrums and ‘biblical’ 90s tunes, Supersonic will have Britpop fans pining for the days of Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger. It’s probably not one for the uninitiated, but those with even a passing interest in Oasis will be swept up for the ride.

Watch the Supersonic trailer below:

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn