“H…O…M…E….those letters are incredibly important. They are… the personification of home.”
There’s something about former boyband legend Matt Goss. It could be his enduring, striking looks, replete with that wisp of blonde hair and those piercing eyes we were so accustomed to seeing, staring out from newsagent shelves from the covers of Smash Hits or Just 17.
Or perhaps it’s his thoughtfulness, as exhibited in Joe Pearlman and David Soutar’s documentary about the reformation of 1980s hit factory, Bros.
In truth, it’s all of the above the makes Matt Goss so watchable. Particularly his astonishing turn of phrase, delivering unique metaphors (the directors would later refer to them as Matt-isms) with alarming regularity.
The co-directors join Goss in the US, where he evidently likes to stare pensively across the Vegas skyline (at least when he’s not performing on stage at The Mirage). Meanwhile, his twin brother, Luke – just a few miles up the road in LA – is busy putting the finishing touches on his latest B-Movie, gushing over the actor he believes he has uncovered (who, it soon transpires, has the acting talent of a coffee table).
It’s not long before Luke is picking up his old drum sticks and heading out of the edit suite to catch a plane to England, where he’ll meet up with his brother and begin rehearsals for Bros’ biggest, nay, their ONLY concert for the last 28 years.
Pearlman and Soutar have structured their doc around that big night at the O2, counting down the days to the gig and presenting the brothers as though they may be ill-equipped to handle the stress of the up-coming show.
Along the journey, the pair visit their old family home where they share stories about playing with their only toy (a single dart), while lamenting the loss of innocence and railing against the banning of school yard conkers.
Meanwhile, the story of Bros in their heyday, surrounded by Brosettes in their leather-jacket-and-ripped-jeans uniforms, is told concurrently, using archive footage to show their rise to fame and occasionally revealing the truth behind it all, such as when they were given platinum discs on TV, days after the tragic, premature death of their sister.
Even in the most touching moments, Pearlman and Soutar find a way to puncture the mood with an eerie audio clip of Terry Wogan.
The directors tread a thin line between laughing at and laughing with the Goss brothers. The inclusion of so many of Matt’s nonsensical metaphors implying that the directors are hanging the pair with their own rope. It makes for genuine, laugh-out-loud comedy and it’s hard to tell how intentional it all is (as far as the directors are concerned, it’s all part of the plan).
But there’s more to it than mockery. After the disgraceful tabloid treatment they endured during the four years they spent at the top of the charts, the Goss brothers, as much as any act, deserve their shot at musical redemption. And when that shot is delivered, it’ll take a cold heart to not be affected by it.
Bros share a bag full of regrets, mostly at the way the press chewed them up and spat them out, and partly at the way they have treated each other. And it’s that plot thread that makes After The Screaming Stops compelling viewing; the relationship between the two is of as much import as the connection to their audience.
When they finally rise from below the stage at the O2 in a fog of dry ice, as if they’re been unpacked from cold storage, the pair get what they’ve truly been dreaming of – a brotherly hug.