The pleasures of Michael Winterbottom's relentlessly hip 24 Hour Party People, released in 2002, still reside in what Village Voice critic Dennis Lim called the film's "brazen impatience." The place is Manchester, between 1976 and 1992, and the ruling presence -- loud, pompous, delightfully full of himself -- is Factory Records founder Tony Wilson (here played by Steve Coogan), who bridged the gap between punk and rave with his own outlandish brand of self-absorption. Amid what Lim called the film's "zippy kindergarten post-modernism," we behold the supercharged musical idealist who gave the rock world everyone from Joy Division to the Happy Mondays to New Order. Spiked with equal doses of ecstasy and tragedy (including the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis), Winterbottom's chronicle of the Manchester scene works as fascinating rock history, dark nostalgia and the celebration of unfettered ego.
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24 Hour Party People screens Saturday, May 27, in the Midnight Madness at the Esquire series. Landmark's Esquire Theatre is at 590 Downing Street; for information, call 303-352-1992.