Cinema Review – One Direction: This is Us

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock brings us behind the scenes of the world’s biggest boy band, One Direction.

One Direction have had a crazy career; in just three years they have gone from contestants on X-Factor – and runners up – to the biggest boy band on the planet. This, as the documentary quickly reminds us of, is something that not even The Beatles managed so quickly.

The documentary follows the band as they embark on a massive tour and the recording of their third album. A lot of the film’s running time is spent on concert footage, which is then combined with backstage, behind the scenes footage and interviews with the boys themselves and those around them.

This is Us is a film for the fans, yes there is enough background information in there that the parents or the casually curious will get to know about the origins of One Direction and how they got to where they are today, but this documentary is incredibly biased. OK, OK, all documentaries are biased to a degree, but This is Us shows the boys in the best possible light, and does not really give us an insight into the boys lives or how their careers are affecting them.

It is just human nature that someone gets frustrated with someone at some point, or gets sick of thousands of girls screaming outside their hotel all night, but at no point does This is Us show anything that could cast the boys in a negative light. No one cries or gets annoyed that they have had 10 minutes sleep or want to spend just 10 seconds away from one another. The closest we get to this is footage of security chasing the boys around backstage, trying to get them off skateboards and golf carts, literally minutes before they go on stage.

Throughout the film, it seems like the lads are having a good time and enjoying what they are doing; they lark around on stage and off, and it does genuinely seem that they are nice people – if a little vapid, they’re young, they’ll get over it – and they have a good connection with one another. It is easy to warm to these five lads, but it is also easy to wonder what is going on behind the scenes.

As someone who was (and still is) a massive fan of Take That, I know the stories that have come out about the lads’ relationships with one another, and as a person, I know that constantly being around the same people day in day out, can become a chore, but none of this is shown in the film. This is a shame, since the film is called This is Us, as it would have given a fuller picture and shown that these five people are human, as well as famous. Director Morgan Spurlock seems to have had very little input into the film, and it comes off feeling generic and incredibly biased and, ironically, lacking direction. For a film named This is Us, it is surprising how little we see of the real people in the band.

In all, One Direction: This is Us is a film that is made for the fans. Those of us who want to see the highs and lows of being in the biggest band in the world will be disappointed, but the fans who believe that One Direction are forever, and the five lads have literally never had a cross world with one another will be delighted. The film is charming in a way, and has some pretty good graphics sequences. That said, This is Us is probably not going to win anyone over but, in its highly biased way, it does show the lads to be endearing, if a little annoying. Again, they’re young; they’ll get over it.

Rating: 2/5

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