Hot Docs review: The Sparks Brothers

Edgar Wright's documentary about the prolific and influential musical siblings is rhapsodic


THE SPARKS BROTHERS (Edgar Wright, U.S.). 140 minutes. Rating: NNNN


Embodied by the unquantifiable voice of Russell Mael crooning his keyboardist brother Ron’s looping, complex lyrics about relationships, nature, commerce and existence itself – and backed by a constantly mutating mixture of expert musicians – Sparks has released 25 studio albums over half a century without ever sustaining mainstream success, though they’ve influenced generations of musicians.

Of course Wright loves them, and with The Sparks Brothers the director of modern cult classics Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz crafts them a rhapsody, taking us through the Maels’ careers album by album and letting famous fans like Flea, Patton Oswalt and Weird Al Yankovic tell us how much Sparks means to them. At two hours and 20 minutes it risks being as exhausting as it is exhaustive, but you can’t really argue against Wright packing in everything he can; he’s telling us how much Sparks means to him, too. 

Available to stream from April 29 at 10 am here

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