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One Direction: This is Us (3D)


Stars: Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Anyone expecting a comic documentary designed to make the members of a wildly over-publicised pop band seem uniquely wild and wacky (once brilliantly achieved by director Richard Lester whose ingenious storytelling created what appeared to be genuine characters rather the cinematic confections he actually featured in A Hard Day's Night) will be disappointed by this documentary which, clearly under the leadership of improbably orange-tanned pop impresario Simon Cowell, simply sets out to show the unexpectedly likeable headline-hitting all-singing, all-dancing 'One Direction' youngsters in the best promotional - and profitable - light.

Where A Hard Day’s Night was patently a ‘Dick Lester Film’, One Direction: This is Us is equally patently a Simon Cowell film

Fans of the cleverly-created singing quintet – Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayne Malik – will not be disappointed.

Which, let’s face it, is the movie’s major aim (apart, that is, from continuing to burnish and maximize their profitability). In this key aspect One Direction (filmed during their 2012-13 world tour which involved more than 100 shows in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and enthusiastically ends featuring their sold-out four night of concerts at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles) definitely does the business.

Their well-staged concerts are vividly filmed to ensure that no major musical moment is missed while at the same time decorating the footage with near-hysterical audience approval. Effective 3D cinematography (Tom Krueger) adds genuine impact to the concert footage and in ‘real-life’ sequences involving apparently appropriately obsessed fans.

The interpolated ‘reality’ sequences featuring the members of the group relaxing and enjoying themselves between concerts are as well-staged as the concerts, ensuring Styles – in particular – and his fellow Directioneers – are seen in the best possible and promotionally-effective light.

One Direction is clearly contrived as a clever, nothing-negative brand-enhancing product and as such it works very well, without doing anything to darken or dilute the featured charm of its pleasant protagonists or their music.

Director Morgan Spurlock, who deliberately made himself ill stuffing fast food down his gullet in Supersize Me, does just what is required to fulfill producer Cowell’s patently obvious marketing requirement. That he does it so well and enjoyably even for non-believers like myself definitely deserves praise.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 31 Aug 2013