Film Review: Soul Boys of the Western World

Soul Boys of the Western World

Soul Boys of the Western World is an entertaining documentary for both fans of Spandau Ballet and of the pop culture of that period generally.

In their own words, the members of 1980s pop band Spandau Ballet reveal what it was like to be one of the most successful bands of the decade. From their humble beginnings to their fame and subsequent issues, the band tell the story of Spandau Ballet…

To a certain extent, Soul Boys of the Western World feels like the definitive narrative of Spandau Ballet. After all, the documentary has input from all the band members, who narrate the film. This gives Soul Boys a sense of authenticity.

Notwithstanding, some aspects of the band’s history are somewhat glazed over. Although the film does not ignore the less illustrious elements of the story, later issues are given less attention. Whilst it is understandable that Soul Boys of the Western World wishes to concentrate on Spandau Ballet’s most successful period, it is a shame that the band’s recent reformation was not given more screen time. The dynamic between Gary Kemp and other band members in later years was clearly complicated, so to see how these issues were resolved would have been satisfying.

The use of home movies and private footage is pivotal to the feeling that Soul Boys of the Western World is the definitive story of Spandau Ballet. The use of this footage is certainly a strong point of the documentary; giving an insight to the mindset of the young men as they embraced fame and success. The candid images also make the band members seem more normal, in spite of their fame at the time.

Soul Boys of the Western World‘s engulfment of 1980s pop culture, with its television clips and images of style of the decade should prove nostalgic to those who remember the period and amusing to those that don’t. The film is a must see for fans of the band.

Soul Boys of the Western World was screened in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on Tuesday 30th September 2014, which included a live satellite performance from the Royal Albert Hall by Spandau Ballet. The film is on general release from 3rd October 2014.