Reviewed by Cassam Looch
Stars U2: Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr & The Edge
Produced by John Modell & Catherine Owens
Cinematography by Peter Anderson & Tom Krueger
Location sound by Tom Paul
Certification UK U | US G
Runtime 85 minutes
Directed by Catherine Owens & Mark Pellington
This 3D presentation of the recent Vertigo tour is an extraordinary experience. Having been impressed by the technology with the recent animation Beowulf, this film elevates it to a whole new level. Not only that, but unless you were the cameraman or a member of the band you will not get a closer look at U2 in action — and that includes the front row seats.
This is as straight as a documentary film can get — there is no back stage insight into the band, there is no footage of the group other than that of them on the stage for a solid 90-odd minutes — and that is the film's greatest strength. U2 are without a doubt at their best on stage, a level which is unsurpassed by any of their contemporaries. Bono remains a singularly innovative frontman - people may turn away when he’s hanging around with politicians, but rest assured when backed by The Edge on lead guitar and with a mic in his hands you will listen. The Bill Bailey sketch and inferior Harry Enfield parody could have diminished the impact of a lesser band, but not these guys ... U2 are superb and have a back catalogue that is as strong as anybody’s.
The set list mixes new and old meaning that fans of the introspective recent material or ‘rockier’ older tunes will be well catered for. Where the 3D element excels is in bringing the technical aspects of the group to the fore, watch in absolute as The Edge strums his way from up tempo thrashers like Vertigo to heartbreaking ballads like with or without. The detail with which you can see the musicians working is remarkable, this is honestly a greater experience on screen than it is at a concert. If you are expecting to learn something about the history and origins of the band then this is not the film for you (the earlier Rattle and Hum will give you more insight). if however you want to know exactly why U2 are the best rock band in the world then sit back and enjoy the experience! 1 film, U2, 3D, 4 stars.