Oil City Confidential (2009)
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Julien Temple's "Oil City Confidential" is the last film in his trilogy on British music of the 1970s. It is a prequel to his landmark films about punk figureheads the Sex Pistols in "The Filth & The Fury" and Joe Strummer in "The Future Is Unwritten." Oil City Confidential is a film noir feature length documentary and about Dr. Feelgood; it's the story of four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock'n'roll and left all that came before a burnt-out ruin, four estuarine John-the-Baptists to Johnny Rotten's anti-Christ. Cannibalizing the visual flotsam and jetsam of our society, welding into an emotionally engaging and humorous whole, "Oil City Confidential" sets out to explore this unique time, place and social landscape - all of which was responsible for shaping the identity of the band and which, more than any other, defined the strange cultural vacuum which existed before the coming of punk rock. … More
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Critic Reviews for Oil City Confidential
What emerges is a film to rank alongside Temple's own Joe Strummer elegy 'The Future is Unwritten' as the very best in British rock documentary. Riveting, even if you don't like the music.
Julien Temple's rockumentary Oil City Confidential looks like a series of Martin Parr photographs of the British by the seaside, and then segues into thrashing guitars on the Seventies New York stage.
I don't think [Julien Temple's] ever made a film as good, and purely insightful as this one.
The splicing of old home videos, archive footage and new interviews is handled with real finesse, and in the band's mad-eyed, quixotic guitarist Wilco Johnson, the film has a tirelessly charismatic ringmaster.
A rugged piece of pulp entertainment charting the unlikely rise of UK blues outfit Dr Feelgood.
A clearly affectionate homage to the Canvey Island foursome whose incendiary R&B paved the way for punk.
It's Wilko's peremptory, offbeat monologues that provide Oil City Confidential with its through-line and several of its funniest moments, not least when he describes the clouds and flames of the Shell Haven Refinery as "Miltonic"
Temple tries his best to make the story lively and interesting (even embarking on a brief history of the Thames estuary), but Dr Feelgood remains an R&B band of limited appeal, and Oil City Confidential won't create many new converts.
Julian Temple's messy, whimsical look at the rise and fall of the British pub rock band Dr Feelgood packs a bigger punch than expected.
Audience Reviews for Oil City Confidential
Julien Temple's superb documentary charting the rise and fall of Canvey Island pub-rockers Dr Feelgood. The twitchily charismatic presence of guitarist Wilko Johnson and some scorching archive performances are perfectly complimented by Temple's frenetic style. If I had to quibble I might say that the b-movie inserts grate eventually, but otherwise this is top drawer, quite the equal of Temple's Joe Strummer movie and not tainted by pointless superstar talking heads.More
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