Directors: Joe Pearlman, David Soutar
Cast: Luke Goss, Matt Goss
Release date: Out now/on BBC iPlayer
Reviewer: Simon Brew
When the official One Direction movie came out – This Is Us, if you’ve headed straight to Amazon – one of the frustrations with it was that it occasionally threatened to be a little more interesting than it was. It was a fine film, but very much a glossy promotional piece for a then top of the world pop band.
Perhaps if Bros, who held a similar place in the music world some 30 years ago, had done a film around their peak, the complaints would have been the same. But After The Screaming Stops has perspective on its side, using the catalyst of a reunion concert as a starting point to explore the adventures of the band’s core members, Luke and Matt Goss. It takes a while to get going, throwing in archive footage of the Gosses being mobbed like bosses, and establishing both that they had a very intense period at the top, and that time pulled them apart. But that’s the story many who come to the film will know, or at least expect. There’s an early bit where Matt Goss explains the rules of his house, which left me wondering just what we were going to get here.
What lifts After The Screaming Stops, though, is the committed access to the project from the two brothers, who talk candidly and starkly. Oftentimes, sat down, staring straight to camera. There’s a raw, moving honesty to how they discuss the impact on their mental health and the relationships between the two of them. Also, there’s a sense of wounds not fully healed over how suddenly Bros fell apart. Then we get to see them trying to gel together again as musicians in behind the scenes footage of rehearsals for their big reunion concert. Granted, rehearsals are always likely to get fraught, but the camera never blinks as tensions bubble up and ultimately overspill.
Credit to directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar for leaving this untouched, and also ensuring the aftermath is covered, too. As Luke Goss peeks through his drum kit to ask for the keyboard to come in two seconds earlier – which ultimately sparks a huge disagreement – I felt very much like the proverbial fly on the wall. The eventual concert at the O2 left me feeling a lot less so, but still what struck me about After The Screaming Stops is that in the midst of what could have been a conventional music documentary, Pearlman and Soutar actually found a very fractured, very difficult love story. And I certainly never got anything close to that from the One Direction movie.