Oil City Confidential Movie Review

This third part in Temple's trilogy about British music in the 1970s (after The Filth & the Fury and The Future Is Unwritten) inventively documents both a town and a group of musicians. And like the other docs, this one is mainly for fans.

Canvey Island in the Thames estuary is known as Oil City for the refinery that dominates the horizon. It's also a scruffy beach community and home to the members of Dr Feelgood. Lee, Wilko, Figure (Martin) and Sparko (Sparkes) started playing music out of camaraderie and boredom, then realised it might be a way off the island when their distinctive style caught on in 1973. Without trying to build a slick image as a band, they made it onto the cover of NME before they even had a recording contract.

The film pieces together this story through first-hand memories recalled on camera and illustrated by old footage, stills, recordings and hilarious cutaways to archive movies. It charts their rise to global fame and then the issues that pulled them apart; the main problem is a clash between Wilko and Lee, fuelled by rampant egos, plus of course drugs and alcohol. Temple captures all of this with a wonderful sense of the time and place, focussing on the personalities of these guys and the society they lived in.

He also places them carefully within music history, as their style of R&B sounds intriguingly like punk before there was such a thing. And Temple shows us their influences, from the blues masters to the Shadows and the Stones. This is a lively, engaging account told mainly through personal reminiscences, which gives it all a much more intimate tone, drawing out both the wit and warmth of these extremely creative men.

We are also acutely aware of how young they were when they faced their imminent fame, completely intoxicated with the life they were entering after such a dull childhood in a forgotten corner of Britain. For a change, it's also nice to see a film that takes a realistic approach to drug use (it wasn't all bad: shock!) and also puts issues of mortality in context without getting maudlin. Dr Feelgood fans will love this.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Stephen Malit

Starring : Lee Brilleaux, , John Martin, John Sparkes, Chris Fenwick, , , , , , , Richard Hell,


Comments

Oil City Confidential Rating

" OK "

Rating: 15, 2009

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Seattle has one of the most legendary music scenes in America so...

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Benedict Cumberbatch Stuns as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game' Trailer

It appears Benedict Cumberbatch has thrown his hat in the ring for...

Benedict Cumberbatch Stuns as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game' Trailer

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - 'Mockingjay Lives' Teaser Trailer

Following Katniss Everdeen's escape from the catastrophic 75th Hunger Games...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

Guess Which Insects Have Killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree?

A tree planted in tribute to former Beatles guitarist George Harrison has...

Guess Which Insects Have Killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree?

'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley Teases Season 2 Plot At TCA Press Tour

After Fargo’s very definitive season finale (don’t worry, this article...

'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley Teases Season 2 Plot At TCA Press Tour

Young Rising Sons - High (Acoustic)

New Jersey band Young Rising Sons perform a stripped down acoustic cover of their single 'High'...

Young Rising Sons - High (Acoustic) Video
Advertisement

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

There's a new boyband on the UK pop scene who have somehow managed to storm single charts...

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Krusty the Clown may have chucked his last chuckle and played his last Itchy and Scratchy...

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV

After being on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, some people like to retire...

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV


More recommendations

Advertisement