Debuting on Amazon Prime we bring you our KSI In Real Life review.
On the eve of the release of his second album one of the world’s most influential young men, YouTube star KSI, is riding high in his career but running on empty in his private life.
Over 10 years in the spotlight via his YouTube channel Olajide Olatunji (JJ) has overcome many obstacles in his life to rise to stardom in the worlds of business, music, and boxing. But success has come at a price – pushing away his parents, fraying his relationship with his girlfriend and falling out with his brother.
KSI In Real Life dives into the above situations but does them on an intimate and personal level as director Wes Pollitt has a camera on his shoulders just travelling with JJ and giving us the audience a peek behind the persona and a look at the person instead.
At times emotional and relatable the documentary has a nice flow to it and comes across well as all obstacles in life are discussed.
In Real Life dives into the origin story of this online icon, his beginnings in Watford, his school failures, and his early adoption of a new platform called YouTube. As KSI, he perfected a character that connected with kids in bedrooms around the world. But the KSI persona could also be ruthless and single-minded, leaving the man behind the mask lonely and isolated.
What I found particularly interesting about the documentary was how vulnerable JJ (not KSI) seems to be. In a world where online hate, racism and more have been a challenge KSI can shrug that off with one of his iconic and endearing laughs whereas JJ takes it to heart and dwells on the world around him as it becomes numb to him at times.
One particular scene is very poignant as JJ addresses love and his family and breaks down. This raw scene has been discussed in many reviews but I felt as though it was necessary to keep in to truly get the point across that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how tough you think someone is, we are all human and we all hurt at some point.
In the midst of a sell-out UK tour, JJ reaches a crisis point. Questioning what love is and whether he is capable of it, he starts to re-evaluate his life, and then takes action to repair his relationships with those closest to him. With unique and unfiltered access to the global megastar, the film confronts questions about family, fame, the internet, and overcoming trauma. It is both a revealing portrait of the rise and rise of the ultimate influencer and a warts-and-all look at a young man working out who he is while the whole world watches.
The documentary is beautifully delivered but it won’t just appeal to the masses of KSI fans out there, it’s a heartwarming documentary about one young man and his dealings with success and through all of the concerts, the fame, the money, the opportunities he has carved out he still comes across down to earth with only that KSI ego being used as a shield to protect JJ, it’s crazy to think of these two personas as the same people but it’s a nice peek behind the mask so to speak and that requires a strength alone to project that out, cards on the table in this open and honest documentary.
JJ’s family appear including his brother and their strained (at times) relationship is also explored in addition to the relationship with his father. It really does have it all and whilst personally, a particular scene with JJ and his dad should have been kept behind doors without a camera in their faces it was interesting for us to see it if albeit it felt a little disingenuous with those cameras being in the room with them.
What I liked about this documentary was that it wasn’t heavily promoting the projects KSI is involved in, I was worried the entire documentary would become one big PRIME advert but the only time it appeared was in footage after the KSI / Deji fight and the logo wasn’t even shown for long. I respected the fact they left that off (not like it needs the promotion anyways).
KSI In Real Life is a documentary worth watching for many a reason. To inspire some, to drive others but at the heart of this documentary is family and the need / want to be loved by them and those around you. Something we should all learn to appreciate and be thankful for.
Check out an interview we had with director Wes Pollitt about the documentary below as he shares working with KSI the persona Vs getting to know JJ the person and shares some great stories along the way!
A documentary that peels away the mask, sit down and prepare to explore the persona of KSI whilst finally getting to know Olajide Olatunji in this wonderfully open, emotional and inspirational Amazon Prime release.