U2 : From the Sky Down

U2 are one of the biggest bands in the world, built strong with solid rock songwriting, universal themes, and a willingness to re-invent their sound, which they have done a number of times since emerging from Ireland in 1976. But between the release of the watershed The Joshua Tree (1987) and the epic Achtung Baby (1991), U2 nearly imploded.

From the Sky Down, a documentary by Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, It Might Get Loud), delves into the tumultuous time within the band that led them to Hansa Studios in Berlin with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to record Achtung Baby. Where this film succeeds is in its honest approach and intimate detail that is culled from live interviews and archival footage. It shows the pain, and it shows the pride; one scene captures a modern day Bono taken aback by the emergence of “One” in its first form, blossoming from a rough take on “Mysterious Ways.” His expression is timeless.

From the Sky Down shows that Kryptonite plagues even the biggest bands. U2 met their match on the road to making Achtung Baby 20  years ago. They won, and the rest is history.

From the Sky Down is out now on Island.