By now we all recall the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 130 and wounded more than 400, and occurred in multiple locations. We all remember the bulk of the carnage was in the Bataclan theater, where 89 of the fatalities occurred during a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal. The band's quest the finish out the concert weeks later, and the emotional toll incurred by the attacks is recounted in the documentary Nos Amis, translated from French to "Our Friends."
Directed by Colin Hanks, whose Tower Records documentary All Things Must Pass was met with critical praise, the film does a couple of notable things that should be noted. The first is that the post-concert film and stills that we all saw taken in the Hall are excluded from the film. Likely a deliberate choice, but the survivor interviews as you hear them are so harrowing and gut-wrenching, that seeing illustrative visuals aren't really necessary, and additionally having heard some of them for the first time, were riveting. Frontman Jesse Hughes talks about encountering one of the terrorists in a hallway and escaping with his life, guitarist Dave Catching recounts hiding in a bathroom shower and avoiding attempts by terrorists and French special forces to kick the door down. Seeing them talk about the carnage around them is just as emotional, with Hughes taking it hard, crying numerous times throughout the 84 minutes.
The other thing Hanks does is sets the film up perfectly in the first half hour with Nos Amis serving not only as a message during the attacks, but helps reinforce the relationships of band members and fans that the band has helped establish through the years. The most prominent one is the one between Hughes and Josh Homme, whom some may recognize as the Queens of the Stone Age singer and drummer. Hughes and Homme have been friends since high school and Homme helped Hughes recover from drug addiction several years ago. Homme had skipped the tour but was in contact with some of the band members on the night of the show, as his guilt as he recalls exchanging texts with them and hearing the news is the first of many moments when you find yourself crying. In part because Hanks has illustrated their bond so well, but also their expressiveness can't not make you do it.
Added onto the kinship Hughes has with the fans, several of whom are interviewed for the film, and they share their stories about that night, and how they've tried to process it mentally since then. A couple of newly discovered fans were Bono and The Edge from U2, who were rehearsing for a performance in another venue that night, and offered the band whatever they needed from U2's ample resources, which facilitated the show (Hughes appeared at U2's rescheduled Paris show). On the day of the show Hughes and Homme met several dozen fans before doors opened, and one apologized to Hughes. He was eating at a nearby café and saw the gunmen enter the theater, and couldn't notify authorities in time. Hughes comforted him and told him not to worry about it. The words perhaps are futile since both may have thought about the attack since that meeting, but Hughes' connection with fans and admirers of the band gave him this connection he may not have had otherwise.
After the finished show, Hughes collapsed in Homme's arms and the two cried and hugged for a long period of time. At its core, Nos Amis wasn't just about Bataclan, or the Eagles of Death Metal. It was about friends, friends who help you, and friends who aren't able to anymore. It's an emotional experience.The Blu-ray:
Another in the "Select" line of releases by Shout!, Nos Amis is presented in 2.00:1 and uses the AVC codec. I watched the film recently on HBO (where I think it first aired) and then the disc and there wasn't much in the way of difference, with quality being good throughout. It handles various film sources and cellphone videos adequately with little post-image processing and the image detail was about what I expected for a documentary.Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless for the film which served it well because of the music prominent throughout the feature. Be in in large arenas, clubs or in-store record appearances, the film possesses a solid dynamic range, ample work on the low-end and an immersive experience when it comes to crowd noise and applause. The interviews are clean and consistent throughout and require little in the way of adjustment. Overall, a solid viewing source by Shout!Extras:
Nothing else though to be honest, the film kind of speaks for itself.Final Thoughts:
Nos Amis goes beyond what happened to the Eagles of Death Metal and their fans at Bataclan and shows you the tangible human connections made between the band and follower(s), brought together even further by the tragic events in November 2015. Technically the disc is good despite its lack of bonus material, and if you have a mild grasp of current events, the recollections here will break you into pieces. Definitely seek the time out to see this to see the stories and the bonds.