Review: The Sparks Brothers

THE SPARKS BROTHERS (2021)

A cinematic exploration of the storied careers of the Sparks Brothers shepherded by filmmaker Edgar Wright, The Sparks Brothers is an incredibly detailed yet far-too-long look at two men who bucked outside influence and made a name for themselves over decades.

Ron and Russell Mael, the quirky brother duo behind the musical group Sparks, have remained relevant over five decades and influenced countless artists with their out-of-the-box songs, strange productions, and by staying true to themselves. Director Edgar Wright, a self-described fanboy, makes the leap to feature documentaries here and brings all of the stylings we have come to expect. Told through the use of archival footage and countless interviews with the brothers themselves, as well as artists like Beck, Jack Antonoff, and more, The Sparks Brothers pulls out all of the stops to paint a clear picture of the eccentric duo. Not knowing anything about Sparks, I can confidently say that the film has given me a crash-course in all things Mael. To be clear, however, Wright probably could have trimmed a good 30+ minutes from the runtime and still been as effective; those who are coming in blind are likely to find The Sparks Brothers excessively drawn out. 

Length aside, Wright tackles his subjects with clarity, confidence, and depth unrivaled in recent memory when it comes to documentaries. A lot of that has to do with the brothers themselves who are absolutely bizarre and enthralling in the best possible way. Thought their music is certainly not for everyone, their lengthy success is a testament to their work ethic and determination that has allowed them to continue to evolve while not deviating from what makes them unique. Wright’s examination of the brothers is one to watch.

The Sparks Brothers hits theaters this Friday.

Rating: 4/5

Photo from Variety

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