Ewen Bremner, Leo Flanagan, Thomas Turgoose, Suki Waterhouse, Michael Socha, Saskia Reeves, Steven Berkoff, Jason Isaacs, Nick Moran
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…frenetic editing, drug-induced partying and chaotic energy is fun to watch for its real-world references, but runs thin easily.
Directed by actor Nick Moran, Creation Stories is indelibly tied to Trainspotting, with Danny Boyle executive producing, co-written by Irvine Welsh, and Ewen Bremner in the lead. The film follows the legendary music producer Alan McGee from run-down Glasgow housing estates, to the apex of musical glory as he manages bands such as Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and of course, Oasis.
In its opening stages, a young Alan is seen chasing his musical dream by wearing make-up and rocking out in front of the mirror. Here, the character garners great empathy as he withstands physically violent abuse from his father. However, as he hustles money to journey to London to make it as a musician, he quickly abandons the prospect after realising his lack of talent, thereby undoing any warmth felt for McGee.
What McGee lacked in talent, he made up for in his music taste. Although the vagary of this skillset is never quite articulated, McGee somehow wooed various bands, and despite his hedonistic behaviour, reaped the rewards of their success.
In telling McGee’s story, Creation Stories oscillates between the challenges of producing and finding musical talent, to keeping the business of Creation alive under financial duress. Admirably, Bremner portrays the high-octane energy of McGee with a truly madcap performance, screaming at the top of his lungs, and his mouth moving faster than he can speak. For the most part though, comic interludes of hallucinatory side-quests often distract in encapsulating how McGee was such a figurehead in the industry.
The film is framed around McGee giving an interview about his life’s achievements. This structure, and his voiceover accompanying it, provides the only semblance of coherence in the plot. For large tracts, the pacing of the film is so scattergun and erratic, it becomes almost impossible to follow the numerous location changes and new characters introduced into McGee’s life. Even the characters that surround McGee’s rise up the music hierarchy are under-done and without much personality. Not only this, dramatic moments are hastily explained with stock images and meme-like inter-titles. This sometimes has a humorous charm, but it feels like it belongs in a YouTube video.
Creation Stories is a close cousin to Trainspotting and 24 Hour Party People but without space for reflection or nuance. Its frenetic editing, drug-induced partying and chaotic energy is fun to watch for its real-world references, but runs thin easily.