REVIEW: New documentary ‘Bastille – ReOrchestrated’ is a beacon of light, hope, and love
Bastille, to me, have always felt underrated. I know, I know - everyone knows who they are, how could they possibly be classed as underrated? ‘Pompeii’ remains one of the most well-known, and well-loved, indie songs of the 2010’s, and it’s hardly like anyone responds with “who?” when their name is mentioned. And yet, still, the genius of what they do is so subtle, it goes unrecognised. Until now.
‘ReOrchestrated’ is a warm welcome into the cinematic universe of Bastille’s music. Lead singer Dan Smith speaks candidly about the battle of his love for making music versus his anxieties surrounding performing. As he opens up, a montage of clips flash across the screen as fast as Bastille rose to fame; playing acapella on a boat that glides across the river, lines of excited fans, airports and tour vans, all the way through to jumping onto festival stages in front of thousands and thousands of people. Despite their cannonball into this life of flashing cameras and seas of faces, every moment of the documentary feels grounded. It’s not about their rise to fame at all. ‘ReOrchestrated’ is about them taking a step back from all of the expectations that come with that, and investing themselves in something they truly believe in. In my opinion, that’s what makes Bastille one of the greats – they do what they are passionate about, and they are always passionate about what they do.
Forever commentating on the apocalyptic nature of the world, their music manages to feel simultaneously ahead of its time and perfectly timed. It’s realism, and it’s escapism. “The world was going in a very strange direction,” Dan refers to 2016, the year their second album, Wild World, was released. “Society felt like it was dividing irreparably.” The poignant, political approach Bastille took with their imagery is shown in glimpses of their tour across the globe. Its relevance, even five years later, is astounding.
The documentary never shies away from the darker times, yet it still radiates this glow of acceptance and togetherness. It’s about Bastille just as much as it is about everyone else that has joined them on their journey. When they had the idea to completely reinvent their songs in the form of orchestra, it created a family of people who brought their vision to life. “This was about really celebrating […] musicians who just deserve [to be celebrated]”, Dan explained. From the grinning faces of admiration from Kyle, Will, Woody, and Charlie, it’s clear that all of Bastille were completely awe-struck by the talent of these musicians who became the centre of their live performances.
Bastille’s endless gushes of praise towards their new team was met with equally heartfelt words from the musicians about Bastille. With such a feel-good nature to the documentary, watching that many smiles in one place put a smile on my face, too. That’s the sort of impact they have as a group of people; their charming awkwardness and generosity makes these scenes feel so beautifully down to earth.
“Music, it will always be a light,” Senab, one of the incredible singers of the ReOrchestrated shows, says to the camera. “So when things eventually get back to normal, I think it’s gonna be an explosion of just… fearlessness. And, obviously, Bastille did that prior to lockdown, so only God knows what they’re going to do now.”
Watching Dan wind his way through bustling festival crowds, I’m taken back to those moments of euphoria that live music used to bring. In my head, I’m twelve years old again, stepping into the first gig venue I’d ever been in, eyes wide as Bastille came out onto the stage and changed my life forever. A portal into the world of music opened that night and I never looked back.
How I miss the way the drums used to echo through the whole floor, the smiles shared with strangers, those wild, confetti-covered nights. The footage of those performances is full of bittersweet nostalgia, whether you’ve been lucky enough to witness Bastille’s splendour live or not. Because, like everything else in this documentary, it’s not really about Bastille – it’s about the community around them, and the love and hope of it all.
You can watch ‘Bastille – ReOrchestrated’ on Amazon Prime Video now.
Caitlin Taff is a writer and Taylor Swift enthusiast from Sheffield, UK. Her love of writing was inspired by obsessing over Fall Out Boy's lyricism in her teens, and she spends most of her time in a nostalgic haze watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @caitlintxff.