Before Liam and Noel came Matt and Luke. Identical twins, the Goss brothers comprised two thirds of Bros, a pop group fleetingly considered one of the biggest in the world. In Joe Pearlman and David Souter’s oddly hilarious but very much genuine documentary, charting Bros’ thirtieth anniversary reunion last year, the pair are best friends and worst enemies. As Matt – or maybe Luke? – puts it: ‘He was a rectangle and I was a rectangle and we made a square’. This is entertainment turned up to eleven.
The film takes its title from a pointed question posed to the boys from Bros on television by Terry Wogan at the height of their eighties fame: ‘what you going to do when that screaming stops?’ This was a band who packed out Wembley, at a younger age than any before them, for nineteen consecutive nights and brought out the police in their manic high street appearances. Shots of teen hysteria in the film remind of Beatlemania, with one sequence directly recalling A Hard Day’s Night. Whilst Wogan’s query could be asked of many momentary bands across the ages, in the case of Bros it was a career in acting for Luke – ‘Guillermo del Toro adores him’ – and solo continuation for Matt. The third of the trio, bassist Craig Logan, is entirely glossed over here; the film explores instead the fraternity implied by their name and there’s more than enough drama therein.
Seemingly by happy accident, Pearlman and Souter have created in Bros a gem of cinema that is every bit as quotable as Rob Reiner mockumentary This is Spinal Tap. Indeed, so much of what is said here is pricelessly ludicrous that it would be easy to suspect that this were a scripted produce, rather than the entirely free documentary it is. Early on, Matt announces that he ‘made a conscious decision, because of Stevie Wonder, to not be suspicious’. Not to be outdone, Luke follows this up with some preposterous metaphor about books and the need to be on the same page. Whilst one or two vox pops occasionally offer their tuppence for discussion, the vast majority of the film is left to the perspectives of Matt and Luke and this proves welcome.
As with the very best documentaries, knowledge of the subject is non-obligatory here. Aside from the oddities on show, there is poignance and humanity on display throughout the film that will appeal to even the most melophobic. How curious, for instance, it is to find twin brothers who cannot quite get along. Indeed, the film presents a fractured bond and sense that this is a pair who can neither live with nor without the other. Flashes of affection are never so far from bristling tension, of the sort that erupts into fierce rowing, and infantile bickering. Title cards remind of the looming date of the official Bros reunion but the film does well to tease an outcome in which all could go terribly wrong – note that Luke hasn’t touched a drum kit in a quarter of a century.
On announcing their anniversary return, the Goss brothers declared Bros’ upcoming concert ‘the biggest reunion in pop history’. Take That, the Spice Girls and company might disagree but the boys have a new fan in this critic.