Film | One Direction – This Is Us
It’s perhaps likely that a lot of you only allowed space in your budget for approximately three or four film trips this summer. Among these trips, the film probably had to be feminist/shot in black and white/set in mid-west America/in another language or have Ryan Gosling as the lead (delete as appropriate). The new One Direction movie does not really fulfil these criteria. However, that does not mean that it isn’t worthy of a watch, or a review for that matter. I went into the cinema with a ‘personally, I NOTHING One Direction’ approach (apart from that time that I drunkenly forced the cab driver to turn ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ on full volume on the way back from Mint). But I left utterly won over by those loveable lads. You can undoubtedly describe the film in one word: ‘propagandist’. But in two words? ‘Propagandist Zaynomgiloveyousomuch’.
The film follows the X-factor runner-up boy band as they head out on their world tour, jet-setting to New York, London, Tokyo and Mexico City. Surprisingly, the latter destination proves to be of most significance to the boys, probably due to the sheer size of the arena and audience. We also see them take a day off in their respective homes and find out a bit about each band member.
The film is broken up by performances of the boys on stage, singing all the favourites (I guessed that they’re ‘the favourites’ because the girls behind me in the cinema would get up and dance to each song they loved, iPhone torches ablaze). During these performances, I can actually say, for once, the 3D was effective: the lights, sparks and animations illuminated the boys’ dance moves in a hypnotising way.
It might be worth pointing out at this point that the film was directed by Morgan Spurlock, the notorious establishment agitator who shot to fame after Super Size Me. But any sense of irony that he might have been trying to convey was totally lost on me. Nevertheless, Spurlock focuses on the boys’ lives in such a way that by the end of the film the viewer feels slightly more connected to the enigmatic band members. It is even fair to say that many of the scenes can be described as touching, for instance we see Zayn have an intimate phone call with his mother after he buys her a house with his earnings.
The documentary understandably focuses on the legions of fans that the boys have acquired and the insanity that can prevail in a town after just a one-night stay over. At times, you really do pity the boys (like when they are locked in a shop in Amsterdam to take shelter from their fans), but this rarely lasts for long (it was a Vans shop).
Not too long, not too short, this 90-minute 1D extravaganza is perfect for a die-hard ‘Directioner’, with just the right amount of music and insight into the band’s whirlwind life. Personally, I was expecting more dirt and more gossip on the boys’ downtime, but this is a PG-rated film not a C4 documentary.
Ultimately, the boys are actually quite funny, with nothing seeming rehearsed. I laughed a lot and left the cinema wanting to be their best friend. Except Niall’s, he’s crap.