I saw the Toten Hosen back in the day. They’d just brought out an album of dubious quality under the pseudonym Die Roten Rosen. It was all punked up christmas carols and at the concert they supported themselves.
The carol bit was dreadful, but the main act showed sheds of energy and had a handful of very good songs: And the band had and has excellent anti-fascist credentials. Though even then they were a little too old to carry off the bleached hair and leather trousers convincingly.
Now, 2 decades later, they’ve brought out a tour movie, or if you will, a rockumentary. And after spinal tap, and more recently the Anvil and Bros films, I’m not entirely convinced that its possible to bring out something like this that people will take entirely seriously.
And the Hosen don’t always do themselves any favours. There’s the singer who tries on a dozen identical looking shirts, the guitarist who gets on the wrong train and the ritual before they go on where they walk in a circle patting each other’s backs. And this is before we get to the british drummer who appears to not know a word of German despite being in the band for 20 years. Oh you comical Brits and your cultural arrogance.
There are times when the film does rise above bog standard tour film cliches. There’s some discussion of whether successful bands can retain the punk ethos and a little reminiscence of being one of the first western bands to play post dictatorship Argentina. Above all there are scenes of the marvellous wirsindmehr festival after the fascist rampages in chemnitz.
I think the film would have worked better if it finished there, but it limps on till the end of the tour, so chemnitz just becomes one of many events, no more significant to the one where the singer gets sick and they can’t play
Ultimately too much of the film is watching other people enjoying themselves. It’s ok, but pretty much indistinguishable from any number of similar films. And nowhere near as funny as the Bros one.