For fans of the featured band, Kings Of Leon, this is fascinating viewing. There’s a wealth of footage that’s a “warts ‘n’ all” look at the band and it’s dynamic while, of course, the soundtrack is full of their great tunes. But, much like the band themselves, this documentary is almost at odds with itself. It’s a look at the childhood and the surroundings that formed the band members (all related to each other as either brothers or cousins) and it certainly shows the good and the bad aspects of their new lifestyle but it also leaves you not knowing all that much about the individuals. Perhaps that’s what Kings Of Leon wanted. That’s their name when they play together, after all, and it’s maybe fitting that they get to lose themselves slightly in the larger, branded unit as they enjoy perfecting their music and making an impact on fans all around the world.
When this documentary was first released I heard some feedback from friends who had seen it and all of them seemed to think that the movie was okay, if unspectacular, and that the biggest impact came from seeing the Pentecostal Christian upbringing that the boys had juxtaposed with their full-on rock ‘n’ roll success and excess. I agree with the first part.
Talihina Sky is far from great documentary fare in the way it seems to cast a wandering and unfocused eye over every aspect of the band’s genesis and growth but it provides plenty of startlingly candid moments, some relating to simple creative differences and some relating to more damaging personal problems that lead to high emotions and rifts offstage.
When the camera stays on the band and the anecdotes and information relates to their experiences and choices on the road to success it makes for a decent watch but, unfortunately, the band is surrounded by family members and locals who all consider themselves friends. Have you ever been sitting in a bar and had to listen to some regret-filled, attention-seeking drunk telling tales that praise others while subtly making themselves out to be someone influential or important just by their nearby vicinity to certain people or places? If you have then you will quickly grow as weary as I did while listening to those telling their tales of growing up with the Kings Of Leon.
Technically, standards are fine. Despite the various sources of audio and video footage there’s nothing here that will hurt your eyes and ears and it’s all put together with some care. But it shows you the problems of a band without letting you really get close to the members – Anthony Caleb Followill, Ivan Nathan Followill, Michael Jared Followill and Cameron Matthew Followill. If I hadn’t provided their names in this last paragraph would you have known them? It’s probably most telling of all that I just watched this documentary and yet still had to look up that information.
DIRECTOR: STEPHEN C. MITCHELL
STARS: KINGS OF LEON
RUNTIME: 87 MINS APPROX