Swift hailed the concert film, shot over three nights at LA’s SoFi Stadium in August 2023, as “the perfect capture of what this show was like for me”. Truthfully, for a lesser artist, the “Eras Tour” film could have backfired magnificently. This concert is 3-and-a-half-hours long (2 hours 48 minutes in the film) and superbly manages to span 17 years of creativity, masterminded by the one and only Taylor Swift. Becky Norris reviews.
Taylor Swift shines with crystal clarity in an equally intimate and expansive way
One could argue that concert films are unnecessary and a waste of time, effort and money, but with the superb direction of Sam Wrench, Taylor Swift shines with crystal clarity in an equally intimate and expansive way. Wrench shows her as the fans wish to see her: as the regular girl next door who is just as awkward as the rest of us. He mixes this with expansive shots of her with overwhelmingly large crowds who have come to idolise her. Close-up shots of her face pin pricked with sweat and her luscious locks getting exponentially curlier and curlier provide a fascinating insight into the human machine that is Taylor Swift.
there are no backstage tears or heartfelt interviews. The music is this film’s main focus
The film sets a fast-paced rollercoaster of an experience, unlike other concert films which spend time with the artist, often for the audience to empathize with their struggles or to show their magnificence in the musical realm. This film has no time for that; there are no backstage tears or heartfelt interviews. The music is this film’s main focus, and Taylor Swift and Wrench know that the music is enough for us to feel the whole span of human emotion.
I genuinely appreciate the meticulous focus on the supporting dancers, backing vocalists and impressive band, who are often overshadowed in the live experience of seeing Taylor Swift for the first time. On screen, you can see them in their profession being the best of the best. It also feels like an easter egg in itself, spotting those you recognise from other Taylor Swift art, like Paul Sidoti, who has been Swift’s lead guitarist since her second album “Fearless.” It is an obvious but clever way of reminding us that loyalty to her is commonplace for both employees and fans.
The camera allows us to see her full physical potential, with her muscles on full display. If the stamina of doing a three-and-a-half-hour show wasn’t enough to prove her physical might, her vocals are equally powerful and at the peak of brilliance.
My only issue is that sometimes the camera work is unsteady, almost as if it is trying to keep up. Especially in the “Reputation” section, it seems as though the camera is trying to mirror and match the energy of the upbeat, bass-heavy songs. It cuts too quickly, to the point of becoming dizzying and a little frantic.
the film was made for posterity… and for the hundreds of people in the car park at every Eras show who can sort-of hear Taylor Swift
Ultimately, the film was made for posterity… and for the hundreds of people in the car park at every Eras show who can sort-of hear Taylor Swift and make do with seeing only each other. The movie is for them. And I hope they enjoy this film as much as I do.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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