This is a fawning, awkward fluff piece of one of the greatest bands to come out of the British Invasion. I love The Who – there was probably a time in my life when they were my favourite band – but this film feels like the Official Version, something vetted by Daltrey and Townshend so that we are okay with the fact that they have continued on after the deaths of half the band. I know it’s cool to reunite now, but I am firmly on the side of Zeppelin here.
The film is awkwardly episodic – we’re meant to be listening to a record! cool, man! – and the periodic narration by one of the co-directors is often terrible. (Could they not hire a real actor for that?)
The film somehow also manages to sort of obscure their influence a lot of the time. Some examples: Noel Gallagher and Eddie Vedder might have been choice interviews in 1997, but in 2007 you have to wonder if they couldn’t have found someone more contemporary. The band’s influence on punk is touched on briefly, but they spend most of the time discussing how Townshend was a scared asshole towards the Sex Pistols.
There’s just a lot of “why should I care?” The answer to that question appears, mostly, to be that they were great live. (And they want us to believe they still are.) Undoubtedly that is true, but I think a better film might have done a better job of with the legacy, and a better job with the touchy bits about continuing to make money off of the name after first Keith Moon and then John Entwistle died from the lifestyle.
- Directed by Murray Lerner, Paul Crowder
- Produced by Nigel Sinclair, Robert Rosenberg, Murray Lerner
- Written by Mark Monroe
- Starring The Who
- Narrated by Paul Crowder
- Music by The Who
- Cinematography Matteo Passigato
- Edited by Paul Crowder, Pagan Harleman, David Zieff
- Production company: Spitfire Pictures
- Distributed by Universal Pictures
- Release date: 14 September 2007
- Country: United Kingdom
- Language: English