Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About Idles
Their music is aggressive, with its pounding rhythms and chaotic melodies. Their sound is driven by a fierce passion and anger that instantly grabs the listener’s attention. They are Idles, a punk band from Bristol, whose compassionate and provocative lyrics, alongside their unique soundscape, have seen them rise to international success. Three studio albums later, the five-piece are now the subject of a documentary that’s – as the name suggests – all about them.
Having formed in 2009, though, there’s not much band history to cover in this short feature film (helmed by first-time director Mark Archer). Rather, the project wisely choses to shift its focus to the personal journeys of the band members (especially with vocalist Joe Talbot, who speaks much more gently than his music suggests), and how their music has affected their lives and vice versa. Playful anecdotes about touring with friends are broken up by brutally honest discussions on the subjects of addiction, loss and mental health. Combined with snippets of many of the band’s energetic live performances and music videos, their documentary serves to further contextualise already highly emotive tracks by underlining the raw humanity behind each one.
In addition to exploring the relationship between Idles and their music, Don’t Go Gentle also takes time to showcase the astronomical impact their songs have had on their growing fanbase. Gleaning insight specifically from members of online fan group the AF Gang, viewers get a strong sense of the kind of positive community that’s been formed as a direct result of the band’s influence. Music can be life-changing, and seeing these fans coming together over their shared love is proof enough of the power of Idles’ drive for positivity in action.
Running at just under 80 minutes, however, there’s more to be desired from this account that doesn’t have all that much to say. As a music documentary, Don’t Go Gentle isn’t essential viewing. But for fans of the band that it’s all about, the flick makes for an interesting (but all too short) companion to their stellar discography.
Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About Idles is released in select cinemas on 6th August 2021.
Watch the trailer for Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About Idles here: