Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
Director: James Moll
Starring: Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel
The Foo Fighters' success lies in the band's hooky songwriting and their happy-go-lucky demeanour.
All of this makes for great albums and live shows: however, the results are not nearly as thrilling when translated to the warts-and-all territory of the documentary.
Released in time with the band's latest album, Wasting Light, Back and Forth is more of a wasted opportunity than an in-depth look into what makes a mega-successful band tick.
The film picks up by running through a quick biography of the frontman Dave Grohl's previous seminal band Nirvana, and how their stratospheric rise was cut short by the singer Kurt Cobain's death. Grohl then went to work on his own songs as a way to deal with the tragedy.
Recruiting band members from other defunct groups, Foo Fighters were born and quickly established themselves as a success in their own right. One wonders whether the director Moll operated under constraints as he didn't do enough with the material offered to him. While band members and ex-members were forthcoming in expressing some of the tension, arguments and jealousy experienced throughout the band's career, the interviews felt too polite and not compelling.
Moll could have probed Grohl more, as his nice-guy persona masks a ruthlessness that saw two former band members depart: one guitarist, after Grohl sacked him by telephone, and a who drummer quit after Grohl secretly re-recorded his parts because he was dissatisfied with them.
In the end, Back and Forth is the most un-Foo Fighters of products: stale and boring.