BRING THE SOUL: THE MOVIE (2019)

How many BTS documentaries is too many? The Korean boy band’s legions of fans worldwide, known as “ARMY”, have already watched the Love Yourself tour, along with countless backstage videos on YouTube. But BTS are the most successful boy band of all time, and with BTS having just announced an extended hiatus, ARMY need this movie now more than ever.

In this surprisingly cinematic documentary, we’re taken behind closed doors to see how the seven members of BTS cope with the pressures of international touring. There is no narrator; half the shots are fly-on-the-wall, half the shots are the boys speaking direct to camera, always in Korean (with subtitles). The central framing device focuses on a private group dinner on a Paris rooftop, overlooking the Eiffel Tower; the boys discuss a new high or low of the tour, and we move into a flashback sequence.

There are some beautifully shot clips of the live concert, featuring “Anpanman” and other hits. But the real emotional heart of the documentary is in the group’s enigmatic confessions. When RM says, live on stage, he wants to do something special, and has a group hug with the other members, you can’t help but feel the significance.

There’s some drama: Jung Kook (the group’s lead singer and most popular member) damaged his foot in October 2018, and had to perform some shows sat on a barstool to one side of the stage. The physical toll of touring affects the whole group in different ways. But there’s great comedy too, hilarious for ARMY and non-ARMY audience alike. A stylish and fascinating documentary into one of the biggest global boundary-breakers in modern pop music.

Playing in cinemas everywhere now.

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