Thank You and Sorry. That’s what I want on my tombstone! It speaks to everything that I feel on a daily basis. I feel so grateful and so thankful…….and so fucking sorry.
Who’s ready for something a little bit different?
Whilst working nights at one of my previous jobs I stumbled across a band called Bleachers. I had never heard of the American indie rock band, mainly because they haven’t released a single in the UK and their debut album, the brilliant Strange Desires, wasn’t even released until nine months after I had first heard them.
After seeing them live in London in May, I soon became excited that they had made their own documentary and that is what I about to review. It’s only the second documentary-film that I have reviewed on this site following on from Blackfish, and because of this I have virtually no expectations going in so I’m actually going to leave my intro here. Before I start, I would definitely recommend listening to songs such as “I Wanna Get Better”, “Live a River Runs” and “Rollercoaster”.
Unusually for me, I’m also going to put a video here of the final show from the aforementioned concert, so if you listen to this and decide that you don’t like the music, you can leave the rest of the review at this stage….
Thank You and Sorry follows Jack and the fellow members of Bleachers as they head out on tour. Jack gives an insight into life as a touring artist via interviews and scripted calls and meetings with loved ones. Before a show in Chicago, Jack reflects that he only has a small handful of people that he still keeps in contact with, but he loves touring as waking up somewhere new virtually guarantees that there will be no emotional baggage that accompanies you near your home.
The various members of the band reflect on each other’s idiosyncratic behaviours, such as Jack’s approach to meeting fans before and after shows, and a dinner with Olivia Wilde that turns into a frenzy of OCD concerns and usage of hand-sanitiser.
As time progresses and the tour rolls through Detroit, Boston and various other cities, Jack’s relationship with his girlfriend is slowly falling apart and as he returns home to New York for the end of the tour, the two will have a discussion about their relationship that will define the both of them.
Does scripted-reality work as a docufilm idea?
Scripted reality isn’t something that’s new to people in the UK as some of the biggest TV shows are based on the idea (please note that I said biggest, but most certainly not best). For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, an example of scripted reality would be finding a group of friends and filming their every day lives…..but give them scripts to follow to create drama. This means that the station gets pretty much exactly what they want, but that causes it’s own issues.
The problem is that you never really believe that what you’re being shown in anything that can be defined as scripted reality, but Thank You and Sorry somehow avoids falling into the trap of of shows such as The Only Way is Essex. Even though you know what you’re watching (well, the non-interview style and concert sections) is scripted and probably exaggerated, it feels genuine and in the nicest possible way, you really warm to Jack as a person.
There is a scene in Part 2 which shows him having a dinner with Olivia Wilde and they have a little battle over where a bowl of cartons of milk should go, before then getting into a full on conversation about both being OCD and uncomfortable about doing things that are likely to spread even the tiniest of germs. They lather their hands in sanitiser and the whole scene is just wonderfully put together. It doesn’t feel like either are being patronised by the filmmakers and it felt genuine.
Thank You and Sorry is full of moments that convey a variety of different emotions, and I just love the subtle humour that you wouldn’t expect about a documentary of musicians going on tour. As well as the aforementioned scene with Olivia Wilde, Jack calls someone to tell them that they shouldn’t continue their relationship. The conversation makes you think it’s his girlfriend because of the previous two minutes, whereas in reality it was a producer from earlier in the episode.
As I always do, if I like a film, even a docufilm, I struggle to write long reviews and I find myself already coming towards a conclusion, but before I move onto my only negative I have to talk about what is arguably my favourite aspect of the film and something that I don’t regularly reference…..the sound editing. Acoustically the film is beyond exceptional. Right from the band playing live in front of the audiences, to the songs being subtly played in the background as Jack goes to cross the street, it is put together so well that you feel immersed in the environment.
Now, you may have that earlier, in the paragraph about Jack and Olivia Wilde having a dinner, that I mentioned a Part 2 and this brings me onto my only real negative about the documentary film and that is that it’s divided into six parts over six separate videos. Even though it’s presented as a docufilm, it doesn’t feel like it in some ways because of this. I don’t understand why they didn’t create it as one large film, rather than six smaller ones.
Because of this, I did find myself getting a little bit bored by the end and if I’m getting bored as a fan, what is someone who isn’t a fan going to think?
Thank You and Sorry is something that any fan of the band will really appreciate, and probably fans of indie pop rock, however, I think that if you’re not into the band or that type of music then you’ll more than likely struggle to enjoy it. Even as a fan I struggled to enjoy it all of the way through, but on the whole I genuinely enjoyed it.
The docufilm presents the band and Jack in particular in a respectful way, whilst also trying to show the idiosyncratic nature that Antonoff is known for. The scene with Olivia Wilde in particular is delightful and even now, more than two hours later, it still has me sporting a wry smile on my face.
If you’re into music then I would recommend giving it a go, especially as it is completely free on Google Play and I even found it on Youtube earlier.