Since the idea of Creation Stories was first discreetly made public, I had been in obsessive anticipation of its (very delayed) release. It had everything; it was written by Irvine Welsh, one of my favourite authors, produced by Danny Boyle, and starring Ewan Bremner. And no, this isn’t Trainspotting 3, as much as it wants to be.
It tells the story of Creation Records founder Alan McGee (Ewen Bremner), the man responsible for bringing bands like Oasis, Primal Scream and Jesus and the Mary Chain into the public eye. It’s an energetic, at times surreal comedy-drama, full of music, drugs and infectious optimism. The film does nothing new – it’s essentially just a riff on Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party people, though it lacks any of the darkness, pathos or chaos that makes the latter so great. It also lacks any of the moody atmosphere and world building of Sid and Nancy or Control, another two of it’s obvious influences.
Often Creation Stories is formulaic and predictable. Most of the performances are great although later on, the celebrity caricatures start to become very grating. In usual biopic form, the story has been stretched far past recognition. This was necessary since the actual story apparently didn’t have enough substance for an episode of Tom and Jerry. The film is made up of childhood flashbacks, career-defining events, and some flash-forwards to a strangely random and inconsequential interview to help fill out the 105 minutes.
Creation Stories is a rock biopic-by-numbers, though it has a much softer edge than most of its predecessors. It’s clearly intended to be a nostalgia-fest for Britpop fans, ignoring the countless historical errors. Besides the cast and crew, there’s really no comparison to be made with Trainspotting. The style is lacking; the writing is dry, and any scenes supposed to pack an emotional punch are almost entirely glossed over.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. The music was great and Ewan Bremner was fun to watch as always. However, this was only after quickly realising I needed to put my expectations aside. Creation Stories is a disappointment. They gathered some of the best talent in the UK to tell the story of a fascinating career, and they wasted every penny on the kind of film you hardly remember the next morning. Beneath the paper-thin surface of music and ’90s nostalgia is nothing but another formulaic biopic.
My rating for Creation Stories is 3 stars – an enjoyable watch, but a crushing disappointment.