It all starts in '76, when the original band formed in England; by 1978, Copeland narrates, "we were ready to shed the leprous scab of (our) wretched history and sally forth to the promised land of America." Fame and fortune ensued, and along the way, Copeland filmed everything--not just the inevitable scenes inside their tour van and backstage, but pre-gig sound checks, recording sessions, in-store promo appearances
Hell, he even recorded the band while they were making their videos, and there's one remarkable sequence in which he sets up his camera on a tripod behind his drum kit, then turns to address the viewer in mid-performance ("There's a little fight going on in front of the stage," he tells us). The camera work is often pretty shaky, and the performance footage is primitive, not to mention loud and distorted, but somehow that fits Copeland's fly-on-the-wall approach; and the soundtrack, live and studio versions of familiar tunes that Copeland "lobotomized" and "de-arranged," is revelatory.
Perhaps best of all, the film offers Copeland a chance to tell us how it all went wrong. By the time of Ghost in the Machine, Sting (who comes off as his usual standoffish, mostly-humourless self) was no longer collaborating with other musicians in the studio. What's more, "(the) adulation started to feel like obligation," and while being rich and famous was swell, the price they paid was "our vibe, our essence." Part documentary, part travelogue, part video diary/confessional, Everyone Stares helps capture that essence again. --Sam Graham