On September 28, a one night only screening event of Black Sabbath’s documentary live film took place in more than 1500 cinemas around the world. The picture titled "The End Of The End", thanks to KyivMusicFilm, was also demonstrated on this day in the cinema halls of Ukraine. Noizr editor, who watched the film in Kyiv, shares her impressions about it further in the article.
Probably, it is worth to begin, noting that I have always had a special attitude to Black Sabbath and its musicians. This is one of those bands which I started listening to when I was a kid. I do not remember exactly when I first heard their music, but most likely, my father's extensive music collection, which included a lot of tapes from Deep Purple to various rock and metal artists, contributed to getting acquainted with Black Sabbath’s work. As for a live show, I was lucky to see the band on stage only recently, in 2016 at the Graspop Metal Meeting festival. For me, that performance was an absolute catharsis — a great delight and desire for as long as possible to enjoy such strong emotions did not let go during the band’s entire set.
Unfortunately, it was my first and the last time when I saw the band live. Therefore, on September 28, as a nostalgia and a kind of compensation, I visited the screening event of "Black Sabbath: The End Of The End", a film dedicated to the band’s final show of their farewell 81st tour.
Like all such pictures, "Black Sabbath: The End Of The End" will be interesting first of all to the band’s fans. Since the film tells about the final concert of the band, most of it is focused on the events of our days — on the farewell show and the band's studio session three days after the tour was over. Like the previously reviewed "Slipknot: Day Of The Gusano", the live video from the concert and studio session is interrupted by interviews with the band members. However, unlike Slipknot’s film, all attention in "The End Of The End" is given only to the musicians — there are no interviews with the fans expressing gratitude and admitting their love for the band. Instead of words, pure emotions are shown here — during the film, you can see the fans who, with tears in their eyes, greet and bid farewell the beloved band. Among the crowd, there are absolutely different generations of fans — from musicians’ coevals to those who are young enough to be artists’ children or even grandchildren. Naturally, the visitors of the farewell show joyfully and unitedly start to be thrilled after hearing just a few note of familiar riffs, sing along to the well-known songs and actively react to Ozzy Osbourne's "remarks" "I can not f***ing hear you!". By the way, during some songs, even for me, just a viewer in the cinema hall, it was difficult to keep from quiet viewing — at such moments I began actively bang the air with my hands, trying to get in time with the drummer Tommy Clufetos, as well as sing along to my favorite "War Pigs", "N.I.B.", and "Paranoid".
In terms of direction, "The End Of The End" also has more in common with "Day Of The Gusano" than, for example, with the recently released "David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii". If in the latter, the concert was shown almost without interruption from beginning to end, then the Black Sabbath’s film, directed by the well-known Dick Carruthers ("Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day", "Aerosmith: Rocks Donington") constantly returns to the documentary — the songs are often replaced by inserts from interviews, shoots of the changed Birmingham (the musicians’ native city, where the final concert was held) and the studio session. This approach seems to me to be the best way to keep the viewer's attention, because the Black Sabbath group is interesting not only for its music but for the people who created it.
Swearing Ozzy, who without any embarrassment tells about why he decided to hang out with a booze (so that he can no longer urinate in his pants, being unconscious), drugs, and smoking. Behind the scenes, however, there remains the moment when the musician came to his senses after leaving the band — at that time he plunged into dissipation and literally hit the bottom, but eventually managed to rise and build a successful career outside of Black Sabbath. Instead, the musicians repeatedly recall Bill Ward — Sabbath’s first drummer, who finally left the band in 2012. Regardless of how actively the press relished the details of this story, the musicians themselves, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, shrug their shoulders in front of the interviewer by being at a loss for what really happened. At the same moment, Ozzy, who gave sharp comments about Ward, seems to bow his head down with a guilty look.
Also, despite the constant demonstration of damaged phalanges in the film, "The End Of The End" does not mention Iommi's recovery after a terrible trauma at the plant, instead the documentary focuses on his illness, the fight against which coincided with the recording of the band’s last album "13". "Our Tony, he's a fighter," Geezer Butler comments.
Yes, much of what I learned while reading the autobiography "I Am Ozzy" and watching documentaries about metal, Black Sabbath, and its members, was left behind or recalled casually. After all, "Black Sabbath: The End Of The End" is produced for the fans, to whom all these facts have long been known. Most likely, there will be more films about Sabbath in the future, as "The End Of The End" is not a full-fledged documentary, telling BS story in full. No, it's a film about the band’s last concert and in brief, those events that preceded it. At the same time, this movie can be recommended to people who are little familiar with the band’s music. An excellent audiovisual work, a qualitatively produced and performed show, a virtuoso play of musicians, their stunning charisma, coupled with the branded jokes of the frontman, will become a kind of crochet that will cause the casual viewer to learn more about Black Sabbath.