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SXSW review: 'Soul Boys of the Western World'

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SXSW review:
By Jerrod Kingery

Starring: Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Martin Kemp
Directed by: George Hencken (debut)

In the late ‘70s, a few lads from London came together to form Spandau Ballet as part of what I’m told is the “New Romantic” movement. Fashion icons of the early-‘80s (for better or worse), Spandau Ballet had huge singles in United States with “To Cut a Long Story Short” and “True.” And then, like all bands tend to do, they broke up at the dawn of the ‘90s, a consequence of internal friction.  Follow that with a nasty lawsuit over royalties and the inevitable reunion, pepper in influences like David Bowie and contemporaries like Duran Duran, and you’ve got a slickly-packaged documentary ready to promote the band’s first US concert in nearly 30 years.

“Soul Boys of the Western World” is made up entirely of archival footage, benefiting mightily from the televised music revolution that paralleled Spandau Ballet’s rise to fame. Bu with all conflict currently in the past, there’s little drama on hand in the doc, and the knowledge that all the members of the band are currently kindly English gents in their 50s and not cutting edge fashion icons leaves everything feeling a little empty, like the liner notes for a greatest hits box set put to video.

"Soul Boys of the Western World" premiered at SXSW 2014.

For my interview with the film's director, George Hencken, see the video at the top of the page.

Grade: B-SXSW review: 'Soul Boys of the Western World'
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