Blur: No Distance Left to Run (R15)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/01/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Enjoyable, comprehensive and insightful documentary that takes a warts and all look at Blur's history from their early beginnings right up to the present day.

What's it all about?
Directed by Dylan Southern, Blur: No Distance Left to Run is a British documentary that takes a warts and all look at the history of the band Blur, from their early beginnings in Colchester through the rush of their first hit (There's No Other Way), to the release of their best album (Parklife) and the dizzying heights of success with Britpop (including their clashes with Oasis), followed by the destructive lows of various personal problems within the band, before their triumphant reinvention, which culminated in a series of reunion gigs last year.

The Good
What makes the film stand out is that Southern has been granted extremely impressive access to all four members, singer Damon Albarn, bassist Alex James, guitarist Graham Coxon and drummer Dave Rowntree. Similarly, Southern has chosen to let Blur tell their story in their own words, so there's no interjection by either an outside narrator or the usual array of sycophantic talking heads.

Southern has also assembled a wealth of terrific archive footage that includes Albarn's attention-hogging school play performances, early gig footage (thankfully Albarn toned down his tendency to leap around all over the place), television appearances and backstage video from several different periods, some of which is surprisingly revealing, particularly in light of Coxon's self-confessed alcohol problem.

The Great
In addition, Southern coaxes remarkably frank interviews from all four band members, each of whom were interviewed individually. The result of this is that the less outspoken members of the band (i.e. Coxon and Rowntree) get to share the spotlight for once – it's quite disconcerting, for example, to discover that Coxon sounds exactly like Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel.

The film also features a terrific soundtrack of Blur songs, several of which are taken from gigs rather than the album tracks. The only problem is that the film skirts over some of the details of their reinvention (given that he'd just come out of rehab, it would be interesting to know just how Coxon persuaded the band to give his proposed new direction a chance) but that's a minor quibble at best.

Worth seeing?
No Distance Left To Run is a well made, thoroughly engaging music documentary that is, needless to say, something of a must-see for Blur fans. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 14/11/2019 11:02

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