“When will Taylor Swift’s film career take off?” has been a lingering question for many ever since she dipped her toes into the world of movies with minor roles in “The Giver” and “Valentine’s Day,” and later briefly explored her cinematic potential in “Cats” and “Amsterdam” cameos. But do we now have an answer to this question? It would be a mistake to dismiss “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” as inconsequential in her journey towards becoming a movie star just because it’s a live concert film. Clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes of virtually non-stop performance, it’s a grand showcase, not just for the attendees at SoFi Stadium but also for the audiences experiencing it on Imax and Dolby screens. While the prospect of lengthy dialogue passages in future movie roles remains uncertain, there’s no doubt she has aced a $100 million screen test. Her expressiveness in this concert film evokes the charisma of the great sirens of the silent film era. However, silence is not golden in “The Eras Tour.” This film is meant to be played loudly enough that it could almost drown out even “PAW Patrol” and “Exorcist” sequels screening in the vicinity.
The driving force behind this volume is a celebration of pop music’s most impressive unbroken 10-album streak since the Beatles’ legendary 12-for-12 run in a different era. Director Sam Wrench has kept the film true to the live concert experience, with the only notable addition being digital title cards that indicate which “era” each segment belongs to, like “Lover,” “Fearless,” or “Folklore.” These chapter titles might seem superfluous to die-hard fans, who have the setlist memorized, but they could be helpful for casual viewers.
For most fans, watching “Eras Tour” is not just about witnessing Taylor Swift’s career unfolding but a reflection of their own roller-coaster lives. It’s part Broadway, part therapy session, and all exquisitely executed. The film doesn’t deviate from this essence. Besides the digital title cards, it’s hard to find any missteps in Sam Wrench’s transition from stage to screen. The film provides a closer look at Swift, allowing fans to appreciate her performances, from singing with intensity in “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” to her charismatic mimicry in the funnier songs. The film magnifies the concert experience, offering a next-best-thing-to-being-there sensation.
While much of the footage mirrors what was displayed on the LED screens during the live concerts, the film also surprises with inventive shots. For instance, aerial drone shots of Swift around her “Folklore” cabin set are nearly dizzying but used sparingly. The cinematography captures striking moments, like Swift with her back to the audience and thousands of glowing wristbands behind her during the “August” segment. These visual elements add to the film’s allure.
The film was assembled in a hurry by a team of five editors, following the U.S. tour finale in Los Angeles just two months ago. It embodies Sam Wrench’s approach, allowing moments to breathe and focusing on the essence of the live concert experience. Striking a balance between the complexity of the stage production and Swift’s charismatic presence, it presents a unique and captivating perspective for fans and newcomers alike.