Review: ‘Oasis: Supersonic’ Is Stylistically Effective

Ari Howorth ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Few musical acts demanded the spotlight more than 90s brit-rock group, Oasis. For better or worse, this band has commanded media attention, both for their albums—two of which are landmark pure rock albums of the 90s—and for the ruckus they are known to cause. Trashing venues and fighting both civilians and each other, Oasis has left a mark everywhere it has set foot, all with—not unfounded—delusions of grandeur to encourage brothers and frontmen, Noel and Liam Gallagher, of their own invulnerability. Now, with Mat Whitecross’s documentary covering the early years of the band, Oasis: Supersonic, the Gallaghers have produced both their most honestly retrospective and their most self-indulgent project to date.

Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher in Oasis: Supersonic. Photo Credit: A24.
Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher in Oasis: Supersonic. Photo Credit: A24.

What the film lacks in content, it makes up for in style. Using a combination of archival footage and photographic evidence, the film is constructed graphically in a quick and engaging manner, while narrated primarily by the two brothers—but at times family, friends, and bandmates as well. Using animation techniques that do justice to the Gallaghers’ chaotic lives, the film edits the photos and the newspaper clippings to tell its own story, one that humanizes the Gallaghers as more than just rock stars, and, ultimately, tells a painful tale about brothers basking in fame but struggling creatively with each other.

The aforementioned missing content is crucial. While this film serves as a look at Oasis’s early years, ending the film in 1996 is an interesting choice for this subject. Oasis is a band whose dissolution and many trials in their later years define them. To not include this and conclude the film at the height of their success—just after the 1995 release of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory— is a disservice to the legacy of the group.

Noel Gallagher and Mat Whitecross in Oasis: Supersonic. Photo Credit: A24.
Noel Gallagher and Mat Whitecross in Oasis: Supersonic. Photo Credit: A24.

That said, this decision makes sense, as the film is produced by the Gallagher brothers themselves, and, while it can be surmised that their voiceover interviews were not recorded together, both strive to portray Oasis in a positive light: as a band that is equal parts beneficial to the music industry as it is to music, which is a very debatable notion.

For what it is, Oasis: Supersonic is effective. It has stylistically innovative storytelling that beautifully and painfully conveys the tale at heart; one of two brothers, who wants to see how far they can take their love of attention by means of their genuine talent and the trials they face with each other. Even though the viewer only gets a glimpse of how bad it actually got between the brothers, the jealousy and raw pain is apparent from the get-go. Watching this film with a real-world context—knowing how the band eventually struggled and dissolved, destroying much in their wake, it takes on an air of tragedy. The viewer sees the rise and becomes invested in the hero, only to know how the story ends, and they can do nothing but sit helplessly and watch.

Overall Grade: B+

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