Review: LIAM GALLAGHER: AS IT WAS Is A Personal And Unique Music Doc

FIRST IMPRESSION

A personal and well-made music doc based more in emotion than music, Liam Gallagher: As It Was is a fascinating portrait of life after fame and the attempt to make a comeback.
Directing
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

Liam Gallagher: As It Was is a new music documentary that asks what happens to a musician after their band dissolves. A personal exploration of the eponymous musician’s solo career, this documentary is a must-see for any fans of 90’s rock who may be wondering where one of their favorite lead singers is today.

Once the lead singer of the popular band Oasis, Liam Gallagher became notorious for his attitude and rebellious nature. However, years after Oasis fell apart, Gallagher set out to make a comeback as a solo artist, and this documentary tells that story. What makes this film so interesting is that it twists the music documentary formula on its head, as it depicts a fall from grace and then a comeback, rather than a more straightforward rags-to-riches tale.

The themes addressed by the movie are fascinating, particularly if you have ever wanted a life in the spotlight. One of the main things addressed by the film is what it takes to live up to expectations. Because Gallagher was so successful as a part of Oasis, the expectations placed on him, not only by others but also himself are a driving factor in his journey. This conflict comprises a majority of Gallagher’s emotional arc in the movie.

Another interesting idea explored in the film is the need to stay relevant. One of the most emotionally impactful moments in the movie is one in which Gallagher realizes that people don’t really know who he is anymore since Oasis ended. Moments like these are what give the film its personal touch that helps the story resonate.

liam gallagher as it was concert

One of the biggest challenges faced by this movie was making Gallagher into a compelling and sympathetic subject. Although Oasis has plenty of fans, Gallagher is historically not the most approachable person, and as such, the documentary had to craft a connection between the audience and Gallagher. To do so, the filmmakers depicted Gallagher as the flawed person he is and the result works very well.

If you are able to get involved in Gallagher’s emotional arc, the movie will be quite absorbing. At an hour and twenty-five minutes, the film has little time to waste, and as such, it moves along at a solid pace. Those who are already fans of Oasis may immediately find a connection to the story, but even those who are unacquainted will likely be drawn in within the first ten minutes because of the movie’s excellent development of Gallagher.

On a technical level, the film is quite strong. Since this movie is primarily about Gallagher’s struggles to start a solo career, this is far less reliant on music than most music documentaries. Gallagher’s solo work does make an appearance, but it is not the dominant force in the film. Instead, the focus is on fly-on-the-wall footage that helps us connect with Gallagher on a personal level.

In many ways, Liam Gallagher: As It Was is an unorthodox music documentary. That said, different is a good thing in this case, and this is a music doc that Gallagher’s and Oasis’s fans (and new converts) won’t soon forget.

Liam Gallagher: As It Was hits theaters on September 13, digital on September 17, and VOD on October 8.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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