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One Direction: This Is Us - Film Review

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by Owen Chow (subscribe)
"If you are truly passionate about something, then there is no other way to live than pursuing and growing while fully engaged in your love."
Published September 14th 2013
Behold, the decline of movie making
There are flashing lights and stylised animations. Five well dressed guys sing about girls. Girls seem to be either possessed or spontaneously suffer fits. People talk about things. Then the five guys do things like pretend to be rebels and camp in the woods in front of their director's cameras. That is the entire movie.

This is Us photo One Direction
'Would you like a photo with the sexy men, dear?' Despite her apparent enthusiasm she was the one playing with her phone at the end, while I was desperately paying attention looking for substance to write about. I've tried less for essays...

The cinema could have passed for a day care centre, except many of the girls were too well dressed. This was clearly going to be a movie where people clapped at the end. Like Avatar, or anything with a PG rating.

Simply, this movie is an extended One Direction concert, complete with behind the scenes interviews with band members, their parents and connected staff. It doesn't go into any depth but it goes draw vague comparisons to the Beetles, and all the footage is positive. There is no swearing, sex, drugs or even squabbling. As propaganda, this movie works, even having a decent soundtrack.

Alongside such classic One Direction hits as 'What Makes You Beautiful' and their cover of 'Teenage Dirtbag' there is the constant soundtrack of girls' screaming, of heights beyond the dreams of even the most ambitious serial killers.

This Is Us Movie One Direction
People were screaming in the theatre as well as in the movie, like echoes in a girl-cave.

I hesitate to use the word cinematography in this review, not just because it doesn't apply, (this is by the numbers film making) but because it's irrelevant. People won't see this for groundbreaking cinema, they'll see it for its stars. Regardless of the craft of the movie itself, the worship of the subject matter eclipses all else with the brilliance of its lights and screams.

There is passion in this cash grab. This passion doesn't come from its producers, but from its fans. At the temples of One Direction they sway and reach out in ecstatic tears. If nothing else, the fervour and enthusiasm is fascinating and I gradually warmed to the positive atmosphere and teenage exploitation.

If you don't enjoy One Direction, this film won't change your mind. As a film, it is a giant marketing stunt, not art. It doesn't need depth, it predicts its audience's tastes with the formulaic precision of focus group tests.

One Direction This Is Us Photo stand
Well, if you ever want to trap a teenage girl...

If the ideal of movie making is to skilfully capture and reflect human emotion and experience in captivating fashion; the old verities and truths of the heart, then this, like so many other movies, is the cynical replication of the Hollywood monetary formula.

As when the Mona Lisa is printed on mugs and shirts and these poor imitations are purchased by tourists from corporations attempting to mass-copy artistic merit, so the entertainment industry has its own strategies for business, except it's using footage of attractive men. This is the Transformers equivalent for girls. You can like it, and I genuinely enjoyed myself, but understand there is little, if any, artistic value in this.

I guess it's not fair to compare One Direction to the Mona Lisa. At least kids know who One Direction are.

The film did seem quite repetitive with concert after concert, but so does heroin and I'm still fine, I think.
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Why? You passionately love the band. And you don't know what cinematography is.
When: Varies
Where: Most cinemas
Cost: $15 - 25 depending on cinema
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