One Direction: This Is Us

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One Direction: This Is Us Review


Filmmaker Spurlock (Super Size Me) is known for his investigative wit, but there's none of that in this on-message doc about the most successful boy band in history. Still, the fans won't be able to get enough of the backstage antics and lively performance clips. And those unfamiliar with One Direction will have fun too. Just don't expect to learn much about these five young men who continually say, "Back when we were little," even though they're still only 19-21 years old.

The filmmakers follow Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis on their world tour, visiting four continents as they play nearly 130 concerts for their hysterical fans, who all seem to be pre-teen girls. As we see them larking around on-stage, in the wings and on their tour bus, we also get their back-story, as they auditioned individually for The X Factor in 2010 and were assembled as a group in a spontaneous decision by Cowell. Their global success is the result of a viral Twitter onslaught, and the fans also get their say on-screen, gushing with their love for these five skinny, mop-haired guys who have serious vocal talents but have yet to prove themselves as musicians.

While the film captures the boys' strong camaraderie, cheeky energy and constant pranks (including silly Jackass-style closing-credits clips), we never really learn much about them. There is no attempt to explore their off-stage identities, what they do in their down-time, their romantic lives or musical inspirations. Some depth is provided in interviews with their parents, who offer emotional insight into how fame has changed their families. Aside from some lively off-handed moments, their interviews feel carefully media-trained, and there's no commentary from anyone outside their inner circle. But they emerge as grounded, likeable young guys who know how lucky they are, so they're making the most of their success in the short time they have at the top.

Even though it's resolutely uncritical, the movie is consistently entertaining. Knowing the film's audience, Spurlock keeps things moving briskly and puts extra effort into the frequent live performance segments, which are sharply shot and augmented with whizzy 3D effects. He also makes sure to get shots of all of them in various states of undress. And while the united front seems a little forced, these guys do feel like best buddies who rely on each other to stay real as they ride the crest of the wave.



One Direction: This Is Us

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th August 2013

Box Office USA: $28.9M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 54 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 4.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Adam Milano, , Ben Winston

Starring: as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Jon Shone as MD / Keyboards, Dan Richards Dan Richards as Guitar


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