Oil City Confidential

"Good"

Oil City Confidential 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.



Oil City Confidential

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 2nd February 2010

Distributed by: A Product of Malitsky

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 11

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Stephen Malit

Starring: Lee Brilleaux as Lee, as Wilko, John Martin as The Big Figure, John B. Sparkes as Sparko, Christopher Fenwick as Himself

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.