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'One Direction: This is Us' - strictly for fans

Troy Ribeiro
7 September 2013

Film: "One Direction: This Is Us"; Cast: Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Stiles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne; Director: Morgan Spurlok; Rating: **

"One Direction: This Is Us" is a documentary that illustrates the unprecedented, teen fever which captured the music world in the last two-and-a-half years in over 35 countries.

It's the story of how the five boys; Harry Styles - the dashing and flamboyant one in the mould of a young Mick Jagger, Niall Horan - an Irish lad who is impish and playful, Zayn Malik, the half-Pakistani talented and good-looking graffiti artist; Louis Tomlinson, the oldest member; and the heavily accented Liam Payne, are clubbed together to form the all-boys band.

The film encapsulates their rise from "16-17 years old ordinary lads" to "ace celebrities in limelight", and the adrenaline rush experienced by their fans.

For those who are unaware, One Direction is the band that producer and media mastermind Simon Cowell created during the British version of the singing competition "The X Factor" in 2010.

The band had become sensational with a massive fan following even before it cut its first album thanks to their lively un-offensive songs, social media network and television exposure.

The film begins with teenage girls going wild about the five guys who win "The X Factor" show in 2010 at London's famed O2 Arena.

Thereafter, the narration captures the hysteria, giving snatches and snippets of the numerous shows that they performed globally; the wacky antics backstage between the high-energy concert performances, the travel, the jetlag and the frenzy multitudes that welcome them at every port.

While there are few and far between scenes interspersed with the private and uninteresting lives that the youngsters lead, the film also captures them doing some introspection.

"What if we had not gone to that audition and what if it was not 'One Direction'?"

At one point, Louis states, he'd be working in a factory and jokes with Niall that probably he would have opened a bakery, since he used to work there before auditioning for "The X Factor". Liam laments whether anyone will ever love him for him. Harry acknowledges that he doesn't always love this life.

It is clearly evident that the boys are very talented, confident singers, who deliver, "what the audience wants". Their sincerity to perform is witnessed through their act. They complement each other by synchronising their voices, but not their choreography. Their singing and energy is infectious, and that leaves their fans in a tizzy.

Unfortunately in the script of this docudrama, there are no inciting moments in the plot. The director, Morgan Spurlock, cleverly manipulates the narration by not getting too personal and invasive in the private sphere of the lads. He steers away from controversies and conflict. In the entire chronicle, there is no evidence of the artists having passion or drive to make music. Also, the film displays a one-way emotional connect which is between the admirers and the band, and not the other way round, clearly making ground that this is a fan-film.

The production quality is passable. The 3D effect does not add any value to the already fan-frenzied audience. The graphic and laser show only adds to the distraction.

This film strictly caters to its target audience, the fans of One Direction. Others would be disappointed.

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