Live Forever (2003)

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The story of the mid-1990s Britpop music scene.


7.2/10
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24 August 2006 | bob the moo
More an enjoyable jaunt down recent key moments in recent UK pop history rather than a comprehensive or insightful documentary
In the mid 1990's British music exploded within the country to produce an unique scene called "Britpop". Against a backdrop of Tory government, the energetic and youthful bands of Oasis, Blur, Feeder, Pulp, Suede and so on dominated UK music sales and became inexorably linked to the rise of the ambitious and youthful New Labour political party, sweeping to power as led by Tony Blair. Featuring contributions from many of those involved, this documentary looks back at the period, the music and the politics.

Sold to me as a good movie by another user I was looking forward to seeing this film as I was a teenager in the 1990's and did love the music. I had hoped the documentary would capture the sense of time and place, act as an introduction to those not around and evoke memories from those that were – a big ask perhaps but it has been done before with other subjects. On one level the film did work because it does have plenty of little nuggets and amusing moments courtesy of the main contributors. This is all well and good but it isn't enough to hold the whole subject together and the lack of cohesion is a bit of a problem. Many viewers have complained that many bands have been left out, which of course they have, but I didn't think that this was a major problem because the film was going for a general sweep and thus got the main players. However what was a problem for me was the film's failed attempts to link the music with the politics of the time. Of course their was a connection but it was nothing important or socially meaningful, it was merely Blair jumping on a bandwagon and being seen with the people of the day – something he continues to do whatever the popular trend is.

It remedies this problem towards the end but for a big early section it is like a love letter to Blair's Britain. The film also fails to really get to grips with the whole sense of impact that the time had – it does it to a degree but not as much as perhaps the subject deserved. The talking heads are interesting but only their contributions don't dovetail together that well – instead each of them is worth seeing but they don't help the film move forward – in fact the film very much just relies on the passage of time as its driving force, which was natural to a degree but it does get a bit "this happened, this happened then this happened" in a way.

It is still worth seeing though if you know the music and the period. It is funny and interesting and it is a shame that it couldn't have done more with the delivery to produce a more cohesive documentary. It does work reasonably well despite this but it is more an enjoyable jaunt down recent key moments in recent UK pop history rather than a comprehensive or insightful documentary.

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