Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) Film Review
Written by Augusta Battoclette on November 8, 2017
The documentary Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) delves into the backstories of the members of the band Eagles of Death Metal (who are not, in fact, death metal). Their eclectic mesh of garage rock, blues and hard rock hold a deep connection with fans. The documentary shows how they are still dealing with the tragic events of November 13, 2015 at the Bataclan club in Paris, France when gunmen carried out a mass shooting of concert-goers. The shooting resulted in 89 people killed during the three hour hostage situation and many more were injured. The Bataclan attack was one of many coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris that day that took more than 100 lives.
The first 30 minutes of the film focuses almost entirely on the band’s history. Frontmen and the two permanent members of the band, Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme’s intense friendship is explored with many anecdotes from their past. Hughes was a self-described, scrawny kid who was rescued by Homme after being bullied by classmates at a party. Their friendship only grew from there and they’ve shared many more memories together. They even have somewhat affectionate names for each other: Hughes is “Boots Electric” and Homme is “Baby Duck.” Both are larger-than-life characters with strong personalities and deep connections to their roots in Southern California, but director Colin Hanks manages to portray them both in ways that connect them to each other and the audience.
A few passionate fans of the film were also interviewed giving their takes on what happened the night of the attacks. Their harrowing accounts struck a chord, but was even more heartbreaking was hearing Hughes tell his experience. He was stuck off stage with some crew members, and the only way for them to get out was to circle back onto the stage. All that was in their field of vision were people lying on the ground and he couldn’t tell who was pretending and who wasn’t. Hughes also recounts coming face-to-face with one of the attackers and being shot at. Thankfully, the bullet missed his head and hit a door behind him.
Surprisingly, the film only focused on the actual terror attack for a short portion of the film. Much was dedicated to seeing how the band and their fans recovered in the immediate and eventual aftermath with cameos by the members of the band U2 as they discuss their interpretations of the night.
The documentary provided a great insight into the band’s unique bond with each other and their fans, however, there were some big things the film failed to execute properly.
The timeline in the film has the band returning to Paris to play a tribute show and then the credits start rolling. In actuality, in the months that followed, Hughes became engulfed with conspiracy theories, going so far to say the security staff at the Bataclan were in on the attack. He also spewed baseless islamophobic claims, stating that he had seen “muslims celebrating in the streets during the attack,” according to Spin.
Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) was an almost perfect way to define the band Eagles of Death Metal to those who have only heard the name on the news after the attack. But where the documentary fails is not giving Hughes a platform to discuss how and why the Bataclan attack led him to be the man he was in the year after, which leaves the film feeling incomplete and lacking closure.
After all the tragic event, the band continued touring after their tribute show in Paris, and has tour dates planned in the U.S. going into early 2018.