Spirits In The Forest Review: A Depeche Mode Concert Film

By Louie Fecou
Published: November 23, 2019 (Last updated: February 13, 2024)
Spirits In The Forest Review: A Depeche Mode Concert Film | RSC


A fantastic piece of work, slightly marred by a missed opportunity, Anton Corbijn’s concert film makes six fans of Depeche Mode the stars.

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, legendary band Depeche Mode embarked on a tour that was eventually attended by a band of six fans, all from different backgrounds, and all with a story to tell. Spirits in the Forest follows the six fans, explains their circumstances and, in their own words, explores their connections to the band and their music.

Interspersed with footage from the concert that the fans attend, Spirits in the Forest is a lovingly crafted piece of filmmaking that is directed by long-time Mode collaborator Anton Corbijn.

So, the real stars of this production are strangely not the band, but instead each of the fans involved. They all come across as unique and amazing people, all with a connection to Depeche Mode, and the love they have for this band is quite extraordinary.

Corbijn tries to make sure that the fans are given enough screen time each to let us into their lives, and the honesty of the profiles instantly endears us to them all. Admittedly the screenshots of their lives are limited, but everything we need to know for the film to work is in place.

As expected, the actual concert footage is fantastic.

The band, filmed in Berlin, are, of course, masters of their craft, and it’s safe to say that the editor of this documentary earned his fee, splicing film from different nights together seamlessly, made only noticeable by Dave Gahan’s choice of waistcoat for each night. Scenes of the fans, in the crowd, watching the concert, show them emotional and ecstatic at the performance and as far as these kinds of cinema “events” go, Spirits In The Forest sets a new benchmark for these types of cinema screenings.

In saying that though, I did have one problem with the presentation. The sudden end to the film makes me feel that the one scene that I really wanted to see was the fans meeting their heroes… and it didn’t happen. I was so engaged by the format, that I was longing for a moment or two with the fans and the band, and it never arrived. It would have been an emotional finale that would probably have sent the audience into tears and applause, but it was not to be, and perhaps I was too involved in the narrative for my own good, but honestly, I think they missed a trick.

All in all, this was a fantastic piece of work, marred by a missed opportunity that left me wanting just a little more.

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