From more than 20 singles (including “America” and “In The Morning”) to four studio albums and from multiple Brit Awards nominations to an NME Awards victory, Razorlight made a name for themselves in the indie scene. They didn’t only headline festivals such as the Reading and Leeds festivals but were also the support act for big-name bands such as Oasis and The Rolling Stones.
However, the stardom was sadly short-lived. Not due to the lack of talent but the heightened tension between the members. Those broken relationships, resulting in a split up in 2014, are now brought to the screen in the documentary “Razorlight: Fall to Pieces” by director Ben Lowe (“Don’t Let the Devil Take Another Day”, “The Gaffer”).
Instead of focusing on the wonderful music catalogue, Lowe focuses on the love-hate relationship, the ups and downs of being part of a successful band and how the members finally agreed to come back together in 2021. This results in an intriguing, honest and fly-on-the-wall documentary.
While Razorlight provided hit after hit, the songs were the result of ‘the most gloriously dysfunctional relationship’ or at least according to Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell. However, that relationship caused the band’s rise and fall, primarily the tricky one between Borrell and drummer Andy Burrows. When watching this truthful documentary, it seems that the fame rose too fast to Borrell’s head, resulting in him becoming an obnoxious, egocentric and boosting musician. It even became so bad that a fight between Borrell and Burrows broke out in Camden, what undoubtedly was the start of the breakup.
While the first part of the documentary is mainly about the fall of the band, the second part is much more uplifting. The spotlights are turned onto the band’s rehearsal for their reunion concert during the Isle of Wight Festival in 2021. You can see that the band is now much more focussed on their music and less fighting, mainly because Borrell took “his ego out of the equation” (his words, not ours). Yes, there are genuine and touching moments, and the musicians seem back on track. Will the members of Razorlight be able to look past the turbulent time and insecurities and catapult the band back to the top of the indie chart?
Whether or not you’re a fan of Razorlight, this documentary will probably be something you want to watch. This is because “Razorlight: Fall to Pieces” is at heart about the broken relationships and not the music. The documentary, named after the Razorlight “Before I Fall to Pieces” song, tells the untold story of a catchy indie band by combining new interviews with archive footage and concert videos. The reason why this documentary feels extremely sincere is that Lowe used the fly-on-the-wall method. He keeps his distance from the musicians, allowing them to speak freely without the interference of a camera. There are events are happening in this documentary we already knew about, but there are certainly some surprises too.
While this documentary is undoubtedly one for the Razorlight fan, it’s also a chance for the rest of the audience to know more about the band and the songs. Thanks to unobtrusive camerawork, massive inside knowledge and an eye for creating a stunning combination between visuals and sound, “Razorlight: Fall to Pieces” is a poignant documentary about indie-music, friendship and forgiveness.
“Razorlight: Fall to Pieces” premiered at the Raindance Film Festival on the 4th of November. No U.K. release announced yet