Review from a fan's point of view.
My expectations were somehow accurate when I first heard a long time ago that they were working on a documentary, made in USA. When I saw the first trailer, with the cool effects and images of Japanese swords and other Japanese cultural icons, I knew it would not be the documentary that says it all. But maybe the intention was not to be X Japan from A to Z. Not so sure if they jumped from A to Z or just went from A to B because there is a lot missing.
X Japan is an amazing band. The fans liked, like and will like this band not only for their music but also for their story and the charisma of its members. This band was Japan's Beattles and Elvis Presley during the 80s and 90s, when that country was loaded with money and later going down. This was an era in Japan when many similar bands emerged from that, which was still making the popular culture bloom extravagantly. Yoshiki, the leader of the band (aka almost the band by himself),creative and passionate as he was, was going straight into this, blind folded and probably not realizing the impact he had. Now he probably does.
This movie is pretty much like digging a gold mine only on the surface, while you have all the machinery to go deeper. Now don't get me wrong, it is a good movie, but not a good documentary. I thought that the overall editing was especially excellent, but sadly this is clearly not what you want to see when you watch a documentary. You want learn and leave the room with the feeling that you gained knowledge about the subject.
I went to see this movie in Japan and the crowd what obviously fans who knew about the band. The reactions after the movie were very silent but I did hear a few "it was OK" because obviously, they know much more about what it is said in the movie. I didn't need confirmation to think that this movie was made for the Western countries because clearly, it was, and it's OK like that. There was numerous documentaries made in Japan and also many books written on the subject. Non-Japanese fans deserve to get something too.
But my concern was more about those viewers who knew little to almost nothing about the band. The movie can't explain clearly, in a chronological order the history of the band. We get some bits and parts here and there but nothing that will make the viewer leave the room and understand X Japan and the position that the band had in Japan. I wish that they took this very first opportunity, with such a great coverage, to talk more about how the band was important, successful and how it impacted the rock scene in Japan. Although the fact that the movie does a great job on showing Yoshiki's story, emotions and passion (which is the obvious focus),it could have done the same with the other members and taught the public about how great these musicians are. For example, I think that Pata, the second guitarist since the band's early days, has about one minute of coverage. Nothing is said about how this guy joined the band and how he supported them during their struggling times at the beginning. That's just one example.
Overall, if you are a fan of X Japan and know the story well, you might be disappointed because the footage and the editing is great. It does bring some emotions, like any movies should, but the lack is really the depth, and it's a little bit frustrating, especially for the fans who can't understand Japanese enough to get their information in other media than this movie.
To the non-fan viewers who read this before watching, expect to have a good moment but you might not understand much about X Japan apart that it's a band coming from Japan with a leader named Yoshiki. So, if a viewer has no knowledge of the band, which also means no attachment to its charismatic leader Yoshiki, I don't know what can be expected from that. It's definitely better to listen to their music instead.
We Are X
Documentary / Music
We Are X
Documentary / Music
From the production team behind the Oscar® winning Searching for Sugar Man comes We Are X, a transcendent rock and roll story about X Japan, the world's biggest and most successful band you've never heard of...yet. Under the enigmatic direction of drummer, pianist, composer, and producer Yoshiki, X Japan has sold over 30 million singles and albums combined--captivating such a wide range of admirers as Sir George Martin, KISS, Stan Lee, and even the Japanese Emperor--and pioneered a spectacle-driven style of visual rock, creating a one-of-a-kind cultural phenomenon. Chronicling the band's exhilarating, tumultuous and unimaginable history over the past three decades--persevering through personal, physical and spiritual heartache--the film culminates with preparations for their breathtaking reunion concert at New York's legendary Madison Square Garden. Directed by acclaimed documentarian Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man),We Are X is an astonishingly intimate portrait of a deeply haunted-but truly unstoppable-virtuoso and the music that has enthralled legions of the world's most devoted fans.—wearexfilm.com
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