‘BLACKPINK: The Movie’ review: a reminder of the joy of live music with the world’s biggest girl group

This concert film celebrating the K-pop group’s fifth anniversary is a heartwarming watch, but not essential viewing for anyone but super-fans

Five years ago, BLACKPINK arrived with their captivating debut song ‘Whistle’ (alongside ‘Boombayah’) and shot straight to the top of the Gaon charts in South Korea. K-pop’s then-latest monster rookies had arrived and quickly set about casting their spell further afield in the months and years that followed. Records were broken and sold-out shows were performed across the globe, their ever-expanding fanbase (known as BLINKs) grew at lightning speed.

On their rapid ascent to becoming the world’s biggest girl group, it feels like the four members – Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa – haven’t had much time to look back on their journey so far. BLACKPINK: The Movie is an opportunity for both the band and their fans to do so, at least to some extent.

Over 100 minutes, the film packs in footage from the group’s ‘In Your Area World Tour’, as well as this year’s ‘The Show’ livestream concert, and offers moments of reflection from each of BLACKPINK’s line-up. For casual fans looking to get a deeper understanding of the group, The Movie is probably not an ideal resource – it moves quickly through the details of the last five years of their existence, setting up brief glimpses at their achievements but mostly focuses on performance footage and the ladies’ relationship with their fans. If it did anything more, it would likely retread the ground of last year’s Netflix documentary, BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky.

The contemplations of the group don’t add too much to the film. It’s nice to get some glimpses of their distinct personalities between songs – aided by visually stunning mini-films about each member – but we learn nothing new from their assessments of themselves as young people with “a dream and a determination to be a superstar” (Lisa) or as those “born with” the talents so many people love them for (Jennie).

Instead of providing anything revelatory, The Movie serves as a reminder of the joy of live music. It will be screened in cinemas worldwide over two days and hearing the likes of ‘Ddu-du Ddu-du’ and ‘Kill This Love’ blasting through surround sound, backed by BLINKs cheers, will go some way to recreate the feeling of being at a real concert.

It’s also a great chance to rewatch much of ‘The Show’’s performances and see how much BLACKPINK have grown over the last five years. Some of the concert footage merges seamlessly between this year’s performance and the group’s 2018-2020 tour, showing them dancing and singing to the same songs, then and now. Unfortunately, some of the biggest highlights from ‘The Show’ don’t make the cut – including Jisoo and Lisa’s solo stages, likely because they featured covers of Tove Lo and Doja Cat and would require permission from those artists to be used.

While The Movie is only a must-see for avid BLINKs, it is heartwarming to watch the members’ bond grow over their careers. “It’s the four of us together so we say, ‘Let’s trust the four of us and have fun,’” Jisoo explains at one point. “Since we started saying that more often, it became more enjoyable to take on new challenges. I think we grew further [because of it].” As she later notes, there’ll be at least a sixth and seventh anniversary of BLACKPINK down the line – as long as their relationship stays this solid, any future films should see them become an even more dominant force to be reckoned with, on stage and off.

Details

  • Director: Oh Yoon-Dong, Jung Su-Yee
  • Starring: Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa
  • Release date: August 4 and 8 globally
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