Colin Hanks has a lot of experience as an actor but little as a documentary filmmaker. He set himself a formidable challenge with “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends),” his documentary about the American rock band that was performing at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, when terrorists killed 90 people there.
The film has a lot of emotion to capture as it chronicles the band’s return to Paris three months after the attack to, in a sense, complete the concert that the terrorists interrupted. It’s a pileup of sorrow, survivor guilt, anger and defiance that sometimes grows unruly. Mr. Hanks tries to give the journey a through-line by focusing on the friendship between the band’s founders, Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, a device that works early but then is overwhelmed by the events of Nov. 13.
Mr. Homme, in this telling (which HBO will broadcast on Monday), steered Mr. Hughes to a rock ’n’ roll career to give his friend focus after some personal setbacks, and he speaks with admiration about how Mr. Hughes found a new purpose when he stepped onstage. But Mr. Homme, who is also a member of Queens of the Stone Age, often doesn’t tour with Eagles of Death Metal, and he was not part of the lineup that played the Bataclan on the fateful day.
The vivid recollections of the attack by survivors, including Mr. Hughes, take over the film midway through, and the friendship story line never quite re-establishes itself. The return concert, too, ends up feeling less cathartic than it might have; it’s more coda than main focus.
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