Twins, Matt and Luke Goss, aka Bros, split acrimoniously 28 years ago after finding fame as loved/loathed '80s popstars with hits like 'When Will I Be Famous?' and 'I Owe You Nothing'. A new film charts their emotion-charged reunion for a sell-out concert in London.
When it premiered in Britain, Bros: After the Screaming Stops, was a huge hit, for the tragicomic way it deals with the reluctant reunion of the estranged brothers. While the band did reach the heights of stardom, they also met with widespread derision. As the drummer Luke admits, ‘Bros has never been something that the country has been proud of.’ So why did this fly-on-the-wall film capture people so?
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
"For various reasons, my screaming was pretty much continuous throughout this bizarre and perhaps unintentionally gripping promo-doc about the stressful reunion of '80s boyband Bros" - The Guardian
In case you were wondering, no, you don't have to be a Bros fan to enjoy the film. The brothers dispense commentary on common folk with a lack of self-awareness akin to the members of Spinal Tap. Only, these guys are for real. From Matt: ‘If you see a man sweeping the road that man’s a king to me… because I’m thankful I don’t have to sweep the road.’ He wrote a song about it. If you are a fan, FYI, be warned that bassist Craig Logan is absent entirely.
This film resonated with a wide audience because, rather than being about their music, it’s about ‘the primal tensions of sibling rivalry and the imperfections of familial love’. As Luke shares, ‘I thought I was a waste of space, I thought I was useless; he was perceived as the gifted one, he was the special one.’ In response, Matt says, ‘It’s been a never-ending apology for being Matt Goss.’
Directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar (Mo Farah: No Easy Mile) capture the tension and deep connection of the brothers. During rehearsals for their show at The O2 arena, the fractiousness of their relationship is evident. There are shouting matches and walk-outs laden with expletives, on attempts at reconciliation, or at least, attempts at sharing their true feelings about their former famous life and how it affected them. And there are poignant moments like when the brothers’ grieving over their mother’s death brings them closer. (Both credit their mum for inspiring their love of music.)
The twins’ lives diverged after their split albeit they both moved to America. Front-man Matt moved to Las Vegas and continued a life in music. At one point, he shows off a portrait he had done of his bulldog, Alfie. (‘I had him painted holding a pint of beer.’) Luke moved to LA to try his hand at acting – we’re assured that ‘Guillermo del Toro loves him’.
The film’s devoted audience swear by its meme-worthy quotables – indeed, the things the brothers say at times have you scratching your head while laughing out loud. For example, Matt shares these thoughts among a slew of others: ‘CNN is the thinking man’s reality show’ and ‘I made a conscious decision because of Stevie Wonder not to be superstitious.’
Love them, hate them, feel indifferent to them; whatever camp you’re in, you’ll enjoy this ride. As it takes us from the brothers’ reunion, tetchy rehearsals and finally to the big night of the concert, this film is watchable essentially for its ‘compelling portrait of complex human interpersonal dynamics’. See for yourself what took Britain by storm.
Bros: After the Screaming Stops airs on SBS VICELAND at 11.15pm on Sunday 16 January. It will stream at SBS On Demand for 30 days after it goes to air. Watch the trailer now: