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Biographical doc Wham! is always engaging thanks to smart editing and the use of fun old footage and interview segments, but the film plays it too safe to be anything more than that.

I was still very young when Wham! took over the world with their catchy pop songs, but their music was a big part of my youth, so it is a pleasure to see a documentary that chronicles George Michael's and Andrew Ridgeley's meteoric rise to stardom.

The doc smartly narrows its scope to the period between the central duo's first meeting as teens and the moment Wham! disbanded in the mid-eighties. This makes for a focused, taut movie, which uses the many scrapbooks Andrew Ridgeley kept from that time as a narrative framing device.

While the picture covers a lot of ground and savvily mixes archive footage to a compelling whole, without retrospective talking head interviews - essentially employing the exact same technique the Oscar-winning Amy did - those hoping Wham! will bring Andrew Ridgeley's contribution to the band in clearer focus will be disappointed, as the picture mostly puts George Michael front and centre, and prefers to scratch the surface instead of digging deeper.

This is the documentary's main drawback. The movie might shed a light on the clearly very amicable, respectful dynamic between the pop duo yet while George Michael's ambitions are very clear throughout - e.g. his frankness about a bruised ego after Do They Know It's Christmas beat Last Christmas to the UK number one spot - Andrew Ridgeley's remain mostly an enigma after having watched the entertaining but safe Wham!

release: 2023

director: Chris Smith

starring: George Michael, Andrew Ridgeley


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