Written by Tresca Mallon
A-Ha: The Movie is an in-depth documentary about 80s Nordic synth-pop band A-Ha. The film takes a look at the band's interpersonal conflicts and the trajectory of their continuing success.
A-Ha: The Movie delves into the story of a band that put out one of the biggest hits of the 80s and perhaps ever. Take On Me is a behemoth track blasted at weddings and students unions throughout the world. However, I have never known, or admittedly wondered, anything about the band behind the iconic tune. A-Ha comprises of three men from Norway Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Magne Furuholmen, and Morten Harket. They blasted on to the music scene with Take On Me and managed to make a few more successful tracks and even a James Bond theme tune, The Living Daylights. The band continues to play together today. However, they no longer put out music together.
While there are many fascinating details in A-Ha: The Movie, they are somewhat obfuscated by an overload of precise information about the band and their history. It takes the film about twenty minutes to become immersive and after a solidly entertaining middle section begins to drag for the final half hour. Unfortunately, while they are an intriguing mix of characters, Paul and Magne aren’t, by their own admission, particularly charismatic. Even the aggressively attractive frontman Morten struggles to captivate after a two-hour run-time. While the story of their band and relationships are complex there is a criminal level of repetition in the story-telling.
What saves A-Ha: The Movie is its razor-sharp editing and gorgeous visuals. Using the cartoon styling of A-Ha music videos the film weaves through the story using a mix of mediums from home films to TV footage to visualise the scenes described by the subject. As with most music documentaries the score is also a huge redeeming factor. Documentaries are an excellent way to discover new or overlooked music. While A-Ha: The Movie is at least thirty minutes overlong, it is an interesting showcase of a band whose music might not be on many people’s radars and deserves its moment in the spotlight.