Not quite a concert film, not quite a drama. This film follows a young man named Bruno, who sleeps with his life long crush, the night before she moves from Toronto to Paris. On this final night, Broken Social Scene are playing a free show and Bruno uses a connection to get backstage passes as a last ditch effort to win over his crush. All the while, we are treated to a multi camera view of that very same concert, running the duration of the entire film.
Some concert films separate the songs with behind the scenes moments of the band leading up to that same show, but here we are separated from all that with the fictional romance plot. As things progresses, the music does what a soundtrack is supposed to do, and highlights the emotions of the scenes it accompanies, but since we are privy to the live performance of that same soundtrack, the passion of the musicians playing syncs up with whatever the actors are doing or feeling. There is a symbioses between the concert and the drama, making each better than they ever would have been simply on their own.
Don McKeller penned the script and his humour helped the characters become more interesting while his understanding of complicated emotions helped the plot function while maintaining said interest in these fictional characters who are placed into a “real” situation. With this in mind, McKeller does offer an curve ball at the end of the film just to ensure that nothing about this film is conventional, even in the peripheries.
The music critic in me wants to talk about how I feel that some of BSS’s songs take a bit long to get to the point (“the point” being somewhere beyond a repetitive, simple jam) but I think I’ll instead compliment, again, how the romance story distracts from this while , in turn, being amplified by that same music. If it were not for the multiple tracks, I would submit this film for being the longest concept-music video of all time.
Widescreen 2.35:1. The footage bounces between being plenty clear (mostly the concert) and being considerably fuzzy. The trouble with trying to make the fictional portions seem like they were filmed candidly is you lose quality as the lighting of your environment fades. The flaws are only enhanced when blown up onto larger TV screens. Anything below 30-40 inches will help to hide said flaws with the condensing frame.
English Subtitles available.
Dolby Digital 5.1. My readers know I am a major advocate for good sound, and concert films should always have this as their #1 priority. This film gets things right, with a very well mixed sound, all of the speakers using their full potential and nothing lost (unless on purpose) when blending music with dialogue.
I hoped and expected more material from the feature band…but alas just one lone making of documentary entitled:
Breaking the Movie: Making of This Movie is Broken: A very nice, if not short, Doc that is mostly just Bruce MacDonald speaking about how pleasant an experience making this film was. Not terribly in depth, but cute enough.
Instead of “High Concept” I might be tempted to call this a “High Concert” film for Broken Social Scene truly own his film. The music drives the story, and not the other way around. Fans of the band should ADORE this film. Non-fans will get a fine example of a well-crafted and well-executed experiment in concert films.