This sort of thing right here is part of what makes Los Angeles so great. It’s not terribly uncommon for artists of any kind to be multidisciplinary, but it is rare for them to get a whole movie together for a screening. It’s even better that the movie in question is a space opera, a genre that has by and large gone by the wayside (with the notable exception of Star Wars – which only barely has the remainder of its roots in the genre). So looking at all the above we’re left with a major artist making a movie in a dead genre. This is perfect and beautiful and I wouldn’t change anything about these circumstances, it’s all so incredibly tinseltown.
As for the movie itself – calling it a space opera might be more on the generous side, since that typically requires some form of narrative, which this film lacks entirely. In truth it’s more of a concert film minus the people, it would be tough to call it a visual album in the vein of Lemonade or Bash Brothers (watch Bash Brothers on Netflix by the way) because it’s not tied to a single album, but instead a selection of favorites from years past.
Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you aren’t getting a narrative film, what you are left with is an absolute joy. The film consists of Justice playing a firework worthy set on a soundstage with a reflective floor. The note about the reflective floor becomes important as you watch the symmetry of the lights and stage design create landscapes deeply reminiscent of scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This does help to restore a bit of the space opera feel, which is further enhanced by interstitial moments where it cuts to stars, planets, and streaking comets.
This film asks very little of you as a viewer aside from your eyeballs. Admittedly you’re apt to give those over very quickly given the absolute spectacle. In particular, there is a moment about three quarters through the film where blue stage lights spin wildly, casting rays of cerulean that instantly bring the stage to life as they flutter about. It’s moments like these that make the movie feel like more than an indulgence.
Beyond the visuals, they take full advantage of the soundstage setting to craft a unique experience. On top of the reflective stage, the movement of the stage lights and panels are far beyond what most bands would be able to do in the less controlled environment of a live show. They use this increased production value to draw viewers into the lush visuals, keeping their eyes off their phones and their ears plugged into the music.
IRIS isn’t necessarily a must see experience for everyone, if you’re not a fan of Justice already it offers little in the way of entertainment, but if you are a fan this is a can’t miss experience. It’s a concert without the hassle of actually trekking out to some random venue in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a top notch concert at that. If IRIS makes it to a cinema near you and you’re a fan of Justice you owe it to yourself to go get lost in space with them.