Matt Goss stares down the camera. “Everyone has to be on the same page,” he says, with an expression and cadence that suggests immense profundity is imminent. “Otherwise you don’t get to turn the page. Because somebody gets left behind otherwise. And then somebody has lost the page of the story… which may be the key to the ending.” I don’t know how the filmmakers kept a straight face but they probably deserve Oscars for it. Through 90 per cent of After The Screaming Stops, you study Matt and his identical twin brother Luke, looking for the wink or the barely contained giggle, something to suggest that this is all an elaborate joke. But there is no joke. The Goss twins are deadly, deadly serious and it’s hysterical.
It’s weird to think that there is one entire generation that is utterly unaware of Bros. Whether you ridiculed or revered them, there was a point in the 80s and early 90s where it was impossible not to know who Luke and Matt Goss (and the third guy, who was completely ignored at the time and by this documentary) were. Their superstardom was intense and short-lived, slurping them up and spitting them out. Fame couldn’t have found two less suitable candidates for such a cruel ride.
The dynamic between Luke and Matt is both incredibly complicated and ridiculously simple. Matt, the frontman, is pure ego, a purveyor of the kind of cod profundity that would make Jared Leto blush, a void where self-awareness goes to die. He’s also a raging bag of emotions with a hat perched jauntily on top; he’s never more than five minutes away from starting or having just finished crying. Luke, on the other hand, carries a chip on his shoulder that could sink an ocean liner. His envy of his brother’s bigger share of the spotlight has him all twisted up inside, even decades later and after a decent career as an actor. The upside to this is Luke’s extraordinary ability to undermine Matt at every turn. It’s generally petty and snide, but occasionally it’s transcendentally funny.
Joe Pearlman and David Soutar’s stunningly funny documentary catches up with the brothers as they prepare for their big comeback gig at London’s O2 stadium. Almost as soon as they’re back in the same room, they’re at loggerheads, screaming insults and passively aggressively sabotaging each other’s attempts to wrestle an element of control. It would be cruel if it wasn’t so funny and so weirdly tragic. Watching Matt repeatedly tear up when he tries to sing a (terrible) song about their dead mother is uncomfortably hilarious, even as it becomes painfully clear that his OTT tears are those of a man who can’t find a genuine way to express his grief. It’s this tragicomic balance that stops After The Screaming from feeling like a cheap shot at an easy target. But my God, what easy targets!
Bros: After The Screaming Stops is streaming now on BBC iPlayer