We Are X (2016) – documentary movie review

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We Are XMovie Review by EDF

Stars: Yoshiki, Toshi, Pata
Director: Stephen Kijak

How come I’ve never heard of them before if they are that big? This will be one of the questions you will ask yourself when you are watching this documentary. How is it possible that fans of this group include the likes of Gene Simmons and David Bowie and I have never heard of them? They are considered to be one of the best ever rock groups and even though I know something about music I have never heard of them before. Just who are X Japan?

Considered to be the biggest thing ever to happen to Japanese music, their influence on other Japanese artists is huge. Japanese music is deemed to have two periods; before X and after X. Music before X was bland, safe and boring. X Japan appeared on the scene full of colour, wild outfits, even wilder hair and backed by loud, ferociously played, almost operatic tunes in structure and exciting enough for them to garne an obsessively loyal fan base.
We follow Yoshiki, the multi instrumentalist, founding member and principle songwriter as our guide to the story of X. Yoshiki plays the drums with such passion and force, that he collapses at the end of most concerts due to physical exhaustion and the pain he is in. We learn that when he was a child, he was diagnosed not to have long to live. Even though the doctors were wrong, Yoshiki has never been in the best of health and requires injections from a physician in order to curb the pain when he plays. Death is a constant theme in the band’s songs and this is dealt with and discussed in the documentary, as it has become a feature of sorts within the band’s history. We learn why X Japan, broke up in the mid to late 1990’s, how they reformed ten years later, and what they mean to their fans.

Director Stephen Kijak is no stranger to music documentaries, having previously explored The Stones, Scott Walker and The Backstreet Boys. Kijak has put together an exciting, entertaining and revealing documentary that has everything any musician in a group would relate to and a lot more. It is very easy to go online and read about X, but it will not help you understand what this band is about. It is also easy to write what happened to past and present members of the group and to do so would be a disservice and will spoil the twist and turns in this documentary. If you love music, then search this out.

5 out of 6 stars