“Liam Gallagher: As it was” (2019)
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Gavin Fitzgerald, Charlie Lightening
Featuring: Liam Gallagher, David Adcock, Paul Arthurs
“You’re getting told
You greedy soul
You’ve been telling lies
The slippery kind” – Greedy Soul, Liam Gallagher
“Liam Gallagher: As it was” (2019) is a music documentary (of sorts, back to that later) that takes a broad look at ex Oasis front man Liam Gallagher his personal past as well as his current career as a solo artist who now writes his own music without the encumbrance of his brother Noel and away from post break up band Beady Eye.
The past four years or so has been excellent for the documentary genre, not only on streaming or DVD but also in cinemas, which is a trend that goes against what many people may have expected. However I find this to be exactly what should be expected especially with the concentration of so-called ‘fake news’ that now exists on the internet, coupled with what has been coming from the White House under the Trump Presidency. In fact there was a thought that cinematic documentaries might be a thing of the past especially with the success as well as saturation of Disney-fied blockbusters invading multiplexes, in fact audiences have been flocking to cinemas to seek out stories about real people making real differences in times and places where many others have been marginalised and made powerless by the people in charge in their respective times. Some of the great, as well as critically received, not forgetting making money documentaires at the box office are: “Wont you be my neighbour?” (2018), “Three Identical Strangers” (2018), “Jane” (2018), “RBG” (2018), and my personal favourite “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” (2017) with so many more. What this says about audiences is that they will seek out true stories told in the relative first person that are not only inspiring but are direct counter programming to the politics of the day as well as the lies that are being produced by a President who is not only artificial but hate fuelled. My belief as a fan of documentaries is that this genre will only gain in popularity, with the coming years being a boon as well as revealing the importance of truth in the media as well as the importance of researching decisions made by the electorate. It is no surprise that the rise in fake news, Donald Trump, racism and may other hate fuelled elements has been answered by artists creating documentaries that prove there can be positive outcomes when people choose to buck the system as well as believing in others, differences, freedom and most of all, discussion.
Of course there is a central problem with “Liam Gallagher: As it was” which is something at the core of many of these types of movies, that is they have complete co-operation with the central subject which of course means they have control over the end product, in this case an almost ninety minute advert for Gallaghers thoughts and music which possibly are not the greatest two elements in the world to draw from. There is the covering of old ground with his upbringing and the inevitable analysis of Oasis as a band and Noel Gallagher as a kind of villain which if you know anything about the brothers there is so much more going on. However what we are left with is Liam as a victim, a misunderstood hero and Noel being some controlling boss who would not let Liam have any kind of agency. This is partly true of course but one need only look at the music written by the other Oasis members to not only measure their talent but confirm that Noel was the centre of that band.
“Liam Gallagher: As it was” is not a bad movie at all, it has a very good soundtrack of course as well as some significant indicators as to why Liam and Noel behave the way they do to each other. There are two fundamental elements of the documentary that aid in its appreciation, they are the long form interview with Noel as well as the live performances that have been filmed for this which are in fact very good. Overall this a very well thought out documentary, fans of either Liam or Oasis will get a lot out of it.