Tuesday, September 1, 2015

1D feature offers as much footage of fans as of the band

About the movie
One Direction: This Is Us
Documentary; Musical
MPAA rating:
for mild language
Running time:
Release date:
Niall Horan; Harry Styles; Louis Tomlinson; Zayn Malik; Liam Payne
Directed by:
Morgan Spurlock

It's not easy being a teen idol, but the lads in One Direction sure make it look like a nonstop lark.

And that's the reason One Direction: This Is Us, a splashy feature-length video valentine to the British boy band, plays so smashingly: the easy charm and unflagging affability of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne.

The cameras of director Morgan Spurlock follow every waking moment of the boys' lives - from the dizzy whirl of their endless world tour to brief visits to their hometowns, where Harry stops by a bakery where he used to work and Louis walks the aisles of a Toys R Us at which he once toiled.

Of course, now every store at the mall has a whole section devoted to 1D merchandise, because this is the band that makes the girls SCREAM. At the moment. And This Is Us captures that hormonal mania vividly.

More coverage
  • Q&A: Cynical Morgan Spurlock tries new 'Direction' with boy band
  • Eurorockers prep for 'America' debut
  • It's the first concert film that has as much footage of the audience as it does of the band. Whether in New York, Mexico City, or Tokyo, the fans are an indispensable part of the 1D phenomenon. Neither the group's songs nor their rather nonchalant stage presence can explain the adulation they provoke.

    The fact is that they are as criminally cute as a basketful of puppies. This Is Us manages to frame that boyish appeal astutely, roping in home movies, family photos, and archival footage (although, in this case, archival means anything from last year).

    The band is made up of former contestants from the British version of The X Factor, brought together by the talent show's creator, Simon Cowell. And the anything-but-modest impresario takes lots of the credit and grabs lots of facetime in the film.

    Above all, this is a masterpiece of editing. It uses all the standard elements of pop star tributes, but assembles them really smartly and energetically.

    If This Is Us has a problem, it's that it goes on a little too long, and Spurlock has trouble finding his conclusion. But if you're a fan, you don't ever want it to end. This is a cinematic all-you-can eat sundae.

    The film will inspire a nasty sense of jealousy in older viewers, resentful that New Kids on the Block, 'N Sync and the like didn't have this sort of mirrored luxury vehicle available to them.


    One Direction: This Is Us *** (out of 4 stars)

    Directed by Morgan Spurlock. With Harry Styles, Niall Horan,   Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson. Distributed by TriStar Pictures.

    Running time: 1 hour, 32 mins.

    Parent's guide: PG

    Playing at: area theaters

    Contact David Hiltbrand at dhiltbrand@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_TV. Read his blog at www.inquirer.com/daveondemand.

    Inquirer TV Critic
    We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
    Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

    Comment policy:

    Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

    Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

    Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

    Read 0 comments
    comments powered by Disqus
    Latest Videos:
    Also on Philly.com:
    letter icon Newsletter