A companion piece to 2018's Beastie Boys Book, this "live documentary" sees the two surviving members of the legendary rap trio – Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz - tell their wild story while paying tribute to the sadly departed Adam "MCA" Yauch, who died in 2012.

It initially presents as something akin to a concert film, opening with tributes from fans as they file into a theatre before the show, but ultimately proves to be more of a multimedia proposition. And although we hear plenty of classic Beasties tracks, no actual live music is performed.

Mike D and Ad-Rock are both on stage throughout, standing front of a giant screen that supplements their stories with photos and clips. It gives the film an intimate, personal feel without sacrificing audiovisual versatility.

In retracing the journey of the Beastie Boys, the pair are admirably reflective, acknowledging missteps, regrets and how their attitudes have matured along the way. From their scraggy New York punk scene beginnings to the key role they played in rap's transition into the mainstream, and then their later creative ascension, few stones are left unturned.


Spike Jonze, the director of both the live show and the film, has a long association with the group and was responsible for their most iconic music video, 1994's hugely influential 'Sabotage'. Jonze always eagerly subverts any form he's engaging with, and here he includes line flubs, re-takes and moments when Mike D and Ad-Rock address him directly from the stage.

Much sombre reverence is shown for Yauch, who is clearly considered by everyone involved to have been the true genius of the bunch.

This has obviously been made for fans, but even if you're unfamiliar with the Beastie Boys, it's impossible not to be entertained by these irrepressible showmen.


Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz


Spike Jonze



Apple TV+

Running time:

120 minutes


The crazy ups and curious downs of a musical act that defies definition.