“We Are X” follows the documentary line similar to the director’s previous work on “Jaco”. While Jaco and X JAPAN are unknown to the mainstream, that would be ignoring the legions of fans in America and elsewhere that they have accumulated over the years.  Director Kijak takes viewers on a journey of mutual discovery, as the documentarian confesses to knowing little about the band. But, between Guns ‘n’ Roses, Gene Simmons and Stan Lee…these guys had quite the following before retiring in 1997. Now, the band is reuniting for a reunion tour starting at Madison Square Garden. While prepping for Sirius XM interviews, the audience see the toll rocking takes on aging stars.

That’s when the Behind the Music/rock documentary cliches start. One member kills himself and the youth of Japan go all Post Cobain about it. From there, members splinter and raise hell throughout the world. The band’s leader tries his best to make other members work, but nothing quite gels. Meanwhile, his neck and various parts of his body are requiring daily Cortisone shots. Those that rock hard, rock the shortest. So, when the band finally retired…it made sense.

You’ve seen this story before, but rarely told better. Most of the early glances will pass them off as a faux metal band that looks like background characters from Final Fantasy XV. Hold off on that and approach the film with a clear mind. This is a documentary that targets what makes fans and what makes bands. By examining rock culture through an Eastern lens, “We Are X” makes American audiences look at the transformative power of Rock around the world. Staggering and important stuff. Mark my words, people. Drafthouse has an Oscar nominee and a possible winner on their hands.


  • 1 hr and 33 mins
  • R
  • Drafthouse


  • 95%
    Film Score - 95%

The Plot Thus Far

From the production team behind the Oscar winning Searching for Sugar Man comes We Are X, a transcendent rock & roll story about XJapan, the world’s biggest and most successful band you’ve never heard of…yet.

Under the enigmatic direction of drummer, pianist, composer, and producer Yoshiki, X Japan has sold over 30 million singles and albums combined––captivating such a wide range of admirers as Sir George Martin, KISS, Stan Lee, and even the Japanese Emperor––and pioneered a spectacle-driven style of visual rock, creating a one-of-a-kind cultural phenomenon.

Chronicling the band’s exhilarating, tumultuous and unimaginable history over the past three decades––persevering through personal, physical and spiritual heartache––the film culminates with preparations for their breathtaking reunion concert at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden. Directed by acclaimed documentarian Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man), We Are X is an astonishingly intimate portrait of a deeply haunted––but truly unstoppable––virtuoso and the music that has enthralled legions of the world’s most devoted fans.


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