Blur – ‘To The End’ review: Britpop legends prove love and friendship outlasts all

“Time is not infinite,” offers Blur’s Damon Albarn in the opening scene of new documentary film, To The End. Born of the Britpop age that promised so much, the band now in their 36th year and on their second comeback seem acutely aware that they aren’t, as their gobby rivals once promised a generation, going to “live forever”.

We begin with Albarn enjoying a pastoral existence on the rural Devon coast; getting cut up by Land Rovers on winding roads, celebrating the first egg from his beloved pet chicken and living in a very big house in the country. But all’s not well. Shattered by the split from his partner of 25 years, the self-confessed workaholic turns his heartache into song – and can only do it with his oldest friends around him. As guitarist Graham Coxon puts it, “a boulder is dislodged” within his pal – with two decades of pent up emotion pouring out.

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That frank and honest storyline alone (we often see the frontman struggling and in tears) would have made for a must-see film, but the stakes are higher. As well as charting the indie legends’ recording of their immaculate comeback album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’, To The End also follows them on the road to a pair of shows at London’s Wembley Stadium.


Directed by Transgressive Records founder Toby L, To The End is a joyful and touching tale of a band crawling out of their Last Of The Summer Wine years to get all Spinal Tap once more. Each member has a challenge to beat: bassist turned cheesemonger Alex James savours the party lifestyle while remaining fearful of his old problems with alcohol, Coxon wrestles with the notion of being a stadium band when he only ever wanted to be a punk, and drummer turned politician Dave Rowntree goes and breaks his bloody leg weeks before curtain-up.

Still, the highs are higher; it’s wonderful to see the band retrace their friendship right back to school, the live footage from their intimate warm-up shows and the Wembley gig itself put you right in the beer-soaked mosh-pit, and Coxon gets a laugh by doing something pretty gross with a can of Diet Coke. No Spoilers.

They bicker, they hug, they call each other c**ts, they get the job done. While Blur’s last doc and accompanying live movie No Distance Left To Run was a portrait of a band celebrating their legacy and giving a nostalgia-hungry world exactly what they craved, this spiritual sequel shows a band simply supporting each other. Whether they return again or not remains to be seen. But even if they don’t, this was one hell of a final fling.


  • Director: Toby L
  • Release date: July 19 (in cinemas)