This fan pleaser of a documentary from director Mat Whitecross focuses almost exclusively on Oasis’ glory years – their sudden rise to fame, the release of their debut album and subsequent chart success, through to their legendary concert at Knebworth, where they played to a quarter of a million fans over two days. At that point, Supersonic resolutely concludes. The story of Oasis, as told here, is loaded with plenty of ups and very few downs. By cutting off before the band’s more turbulent years, Whitecross leaves his documentary lacking in dynamics. For the casual observer, then, Supersonic’s ‘rise and rise’ of Oasis has the potential to drag. However, this is an immensely enjoyable film, full of energy and packed with enough early footage, hilarious anecdotes and obscure recordings to make it invaluable to any fan.
Supersonic kicks off with the aforementioned Knebworth performance in 1996, exhibiting a band at the height of their success. The footage remains electrifying after all these years and excuses the film’s stereotypical opening – show them at their best and then bring it back to their roots – reminding us of the glorious beast that Oasis was, once upon a time. Supersonic is very highly stylised, heavy on the archive footage and scrapbook aesthetic much like 2015’s Amy. Naturally, Noel and Liam’s stormy relationship underlines the narrative – it’s refreshing, often heart-warming, to hear the brother’s speak so highly of each other, given their recent contempt.
Whitecross doesn’t shy away from the boys’ abundant drug use, which is played for humour more often than not and works into some of the film’s more amusing anecdotes. The short stories that dominate the narrative are replete with Liam and Noel’s unmatchable witticism, a ‘you couldn’t write this’ kind of insight without which Supersonic would be notably dry. Stand out moments include Oasis’ first trip to Japan, a disastrous performance at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood and the moment at which producer Owen Morris replicates the attack of the bands’ live sound for Definitely Maybe.
It’s unfortunate that Supersonic ignores much of the turbulence for which Oasis are partly remembered. Perhaps Whitecross should have catered a little more for nonfans, but when a documentary is this entertaining, this effortlessly funny and aesthetically pleasing, the aforementioned gripes seem insignificant. Supersonic is a charming, endlessly quotable rockumentary that should inspire repeat viewings.