Gorillaz: Reject False Icons review – a swing through Damon Albarn's circus

Damon Albarn

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Denholm Hewlett’s documentary is a snappy scrapbook of behind-the-scenes moments captured at the band’s recording sessions and on a world tour

It’s surprising, given the virtual pop-band conceit, that there wasn’t a full-length animated Gorillaz film years ago. But Reject False Icons, after Ceri Levy’s Bananaz from 2008, is the second “behind the scenes” documentary. It’s telling: Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel have slowly been overwhelmed in the course of the project’s two-decade history by its operational reality – which now verges on, as this film points out, 100 contributors. Making up for the fact that illustrator Jamie Hewlett’s gargoyle-ish ensemble are present only in flashy cutaways, his son Denholm gets to prowl behind the scenes on recording sessions for recent back-to-back albums Humanz and The Now Now, and the world tour that Damon Albarn’s funky omnibus packed in around them.

The downside of family involvement is that everything is strictly sanctioned. Albarn jokes in an after-credits scene about the directorial whippersnapper exposing all his “idiosyncrasities”. But they amount here to nothing more than being perpetually on muso cloud nine, orchestrating, among others, Mavis Staples, Little Simz, actor Ben Mendelsohn and one-time nemesis Noel Gallagher in the studio and on stage.

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