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Oil City Confidential
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from votes
Release: 2 February 2010 (UK) /

Oil City Confidential

Genre: Documentary, Music, Musical
Director:
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Synopsis: The story of Dr Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock'n'roll, leaving all that came before a burnt-out ruin - four estuarine John-the-Baptists to Johnny Rotten's anti-Christ. Taking London by storm, they sped through Europe and conquered the UK with No 1 chart success, before imploding just as punk was born and America beckoned with open arms. Contributions from members of The Clash, Blondie and The Sex Pistols join Dr Feelgood with collaborators Jools Holland and Alison Moyet to tell the story of Canvey, '70s England and the greatest local band in the world. Written by Stephen Malit

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Critic Reviews


Director Julien Temple brings to a conclusion his trilogy of documentaries about three of the United Kingdom's most important 1970s music movers. Preceding this story about seminal pub rockers Dr Feelgood was The Filth and the Fury (2000) (The Sex Pistols) & Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007). Dr Feelgood were one of those bands that had legions of fans yet never hit the big time, they themselves would joke that they were the biggest band on their own island! Thanks to Temple tho, a unique and wonderful British film maker, there is now a chance for music fans with a bent for film and documentaries to find out about this rocking and most influential band that hailed out of Canvey Island in Essex, England, in the early 1970s.

The story follows a familiar trail, from early humble roots in their home town when they were children, to their forming of a band and the inevitable implosion as egos take control. But told with actual film footage and reminisced by the surviving members of the band {frontman Lee Brilleaux sadly passed away in 1994}, Temple provides a fascinating insight into how hard working and talented this lot were. There's also so much to learn, even for fans such as me, every section of the film brings more knowledge to the party. Be it with their skiffle and jug band days, or their explosive switch to maximum R&B, there's a story to be told, none of which is twee or slotted in as a time filler. Temple also has an entertaining knack of using clips from old classic movies to help the narrative flow, that in itself provides a spot of fun for the movie fan to see how many they can name (I did rather well even if I don't say so myself!).

Lee, Wilko Johnson (what a character and a musician), The Big Figure & Sparko, four guys who formed a band and made waves in the music industry. Not by any trickery or cunningly crafted marketing ploys, but by pure raw energy and a love of their craft. As stated in the film, they were punk before punk, with that it's no surprise to find that The Ramones were often found listening to Feelgood albums on a daily basis. There's a reason the likes of Richard Hell, Joe Strummer and Glen Matlock are interviewed in the piece, it's to show that the Feelgood's are the link that paved the way for the punk explosion. The music genre the band belong to was termed pub rock, which while hardly flattering actually speaks volumes for how confined they were, not by choice or design, but a victim of circumstance and era. They were not on their own, The 101ers, Eddie & The Hot Rods & Nine Below Zero, all great great bands deserving of higher accolades. It's hoped that now, with Temple's gritty Canvey Island Noir, that more people will seek out music from this ballsy bit of 70s Britannia. 9/10

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