Director: Joe Pearlman, David Soutar
Cast: Luke Goss, Matt Goss
Watch Bros: After the Screaming Stops online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Sky Store
“Everyone has to be on the same page otherwise you don’t get to turn the page. Because somebody gets left behind otherwise and then somebody has lost the page of the story which may be the key to the ending.” That’s Matt Goss speaking in Bros: After the Screaming Stops. It’s a remark that gets right to the heart of what makes the music documentary so remarkable: it’s heartfelt, entirely accurate and simultaneously total nonsense.
The film follows the reunion of the boyband Bros, who, in the 1980s, were one of the biggest bands in the world, before it all vanished in the blink of an eye – 15 minutes of fame that left their impact buried deep in the psyche of the two Goss brothers, Matt and Luke. The pair had fame and fortune, but also found themselves under enormous pressure and feuding constantly. Reuniting them 28 years later for some sell-out gigs at London’s The O2, then, is a volatile proposition, and After the Screaming Stops knows it: whether their reunion goes well or turns sour, it’s guaranteed to be dramatic viewing.
And dramatic it certainly is, as the brothers are clearly excited to be producing music together, and care deeply for their sibling. But, at the same time, they feel so intensely and intently about every aspect of their collaboration that they wind up arguing, failing to respect each other, and resenting each other for it. It’s both sad and funny, tragic and comic, bitter and, well, bitter.
Directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar get a remarkable first-hand look at the tensions, grudges, and dreams that gradually surface during the rehearsals for their concerts, and that access pays off time and time again: we witness not only awkward arguments but candid confessions from both Matt and Luke, with the former regularly dispatching wisdom and observations straight to camera. “I made a conscious decision because of Stevie Wonder to not be superstitious,” he says at one point. But while one could merely laugh at some of these non-proverbs, After the Screaming Stops’ success lies in the way it sincerely listens to the brothers’ honest ambitions and reflections without judgement. It gives the film a This Is Spinal Tap vibe that’s laugh-out-loud funny, but also emotionally raw (particularly when it comes to their family memories) and endearingly earnest – plus 100 per cent quotable.
The result is surprisingly gripping, hugely entertaining and deceptively moving, whether you’ve heard of the band Bros or not. A strikingly frank portrait of life and creativity in the pressure cooker of fame, it’s proof that people can only move on from the past if everyone’s on the same page – even if that page sometimes sounds like it’s covered in absolutely gibberish.