Stephen Kijak's We Are X is a music documentary centered around the Japanese rock band X Japan, chronicling their meteoric rise to the top and their tragedy-fueled fall from grace through the eyes of their enigmatic leader, Yoshiki, a man who routinely battles his own demons. Set around Yoshiki and the band as they prepare for a reunion concert in Madison Square Garden, We Are X is a film that should be enjoyed by both fans of X Japan and those with no familiarity with the rock group, managing to be both informative and deeply personal in execution. We Are X's structure does a lot to keep the viewer engaged, featuring non-linear storytelling that is more focused on capturing the heart and soul behind the music first, examining the men who made up this band, the unity they shared with one and other, and what the music itself meant to each them, detailing how it brought them together for their common goals of self expression. While the film certainly captures the magnitude of We Are X, detailing how they challenged conservative Japanese culture and took the country by storm, We Are X is far more compelling in its human moments, detailing the life of Yoshiki, a man who turned to music to find solace in a time when his whole life was in disarray. With Yoshiki, We Are X exhibits a soul who will do anything for his art, confiding in music as his escape from the pain that is everyday life. Yoshiki is a character who battles both physical and emotional demons, a fascinating soul whose life has been riddled with personal tragedy, mainly suicide which took the life of his father and two of his band mates. In large sense, We Are X is a powerful deconstruction of pain, depression, and suicide, providing a surprisingly introspective examination which uses one man's personal journey through life as a powerful testament to the importance of community, connection, and art. The film itself almost feels like a psychological study of art, showcasing not only Yoshiki's attachment too it post the suicidal death of his father, but also the therapeutic nature which music can have all of us, with We Are X's own fan's finding a form of power and resolve in the metal band's music, helping many individuals get through their own personal pain and strife. Not simply explaining the creation of the band but tapping into the essence of why a band such as We Are X came to be, Stephen Kijak's We Are X paints a convincing portrait of X Japan being founded on the basis of personal expression, detailing how Yoshiki and other members of the band used their art to express themselves, whether that be through rejection of the status quo or a means to deal with their own personal pain.
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