Film Review of Flight Facilities: Across America
Writing about films is generally a tedious affair. The nature of the activity itself is backwards – a picture tells a thousand words as well all know, not the other way around.
Here you are. You’re currently reading this article in the hope of not having to work out whether or not you should spend 25 minutes watching the Flight Facilities: Across America documentary, and we were the ones who spent our precious 25 minutes scouring the film for good or bad.
But let’s clarify why.
It’s not shit in the sense of being poorly made, because the production value is decent as expected, with Red Bull backing the project. It’s shit in the sense that the film doesn’t actually mean anything, or tell you anything, or take you anywhere that you didn’t know already.
The documentary starts off strong, catching your attention with some atmospheric crowd footage of Flight Facilities performing, before leading to some spoken testimonials on just how great Flight Facilities is – which they are. After teasing us with some beautiful shots of a show in full blown performance mode laced with more positive feedback on the duo, the pace slows a little and we transport ourselves back in time to the lead-up to the tour.
Now we enter what we’re going to call for the rest of this article the “shit zone”.
Our ears are now assaulted by interview after interview with each person spewing a small piece of information that shares only a tenuous connection with the next piece of information. For the next two and a half minutes we are subjected to a surface level insight into the important things we need and want to know about our favourite acts such as: why they are bringing two jumpers in their suitcase (the answer is fashion), their differing packing habits and when they’re going to be wearing their Hawaiian shirt (when they get there).
The concept is solid – giving the audience an insight into what goes on in the heads of the artists allows an additional chance to relate and become connected to the people. The problem here is the execution. There are multiple needless minutes of conversation grabs with zero useful or interesting information. Preceding this, there is a sequence of shots bearing little relevance to each other that leave you lost and wondering where you are, before you are treated to magically arriving at the venue on the first gig of the tour.
There is an attempt to build suspense around the show with discussions of whether or not the room will be empty (spoiler, it wasn’t) which falls apart under the scrutiny of common sense – pre-sale tickets anyone?
We’re now sitting about eight minutes into the “shit zone”. The remaining 16ish minutes are a roller coaster of dashed hopes and dreams, as you repeatedly tell yourself something interesting is about to happen, only to be crushed when faced with mediocrity and an anti-climatic ending to suit.
As excellent as it is to see a homegrown act making a success of themselves on the world stage, it’s hard to get behind this documentary as it is. The snippets of personality that are displayed seem tinged by a sense of production, with many of the interviews and a few of the scenes feeling forced and leaving you with a disingenuous taste in your mouth.
This is 23 minutes and 58 seconds of tour diary footage sorted in a rough chronological order, spliced together with some interviews from industry figures relevant to the act. If sitting through nearly half an hour of elementary insights and cliche comments about the music industry assembled around some live footage is your thing, then this is the film for you. If you don’t like being bored for that long, well, you know what not to do.