Accentuating the positive, Mat Whitecross’s reverential documentary portrait avoids Spinal Tap allusions – and treats Gwyneth Paltrow tactfully
This is a watchable, if blandly celebratory and unchallenging portrait of a massive rock institution. It sees no great need to look for the flaws, the problems, the loose thread that could be pulled so the whole thing comes to pieces. Still less is it looking for any Spinal Tap satire. It could be seen as part of an emerging music-doc genre: home-movie intimacy, in which contemporary footage is interspersed with a treasure trove of milky analogue video showing the star’s heartbreaking moon-faced youth, shot by friends or family (schooldays, first gigs, practising in scuzzy student rooms, hungover morning journeys in buses and cabs).
This film looks back at Coldplay’s march to world dominance over the past 20 years and focuses on the tour for their latest album, A Head Full of Dreams. Director Mat Whitecross cheekily plays us phone-conversation audio of frontman Chris Martin begging him not to begin with the cliched backstage image of the band going out to face their audience – and then doing precisely that. It is the one moment of ironic self-satire in a film otherwise entirely reverential.
Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams review – schooldays to stadiums