HOT DOCS 2012 (Toronto) – Shut up and Play the Hits Review (Kirk Haviland)

HOT DOCS 2012 (Toronto)

Shut up and Play the Hits

Starring LCD Soundsystem

Directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern

So you’re in your mid thirties and you decide it’s a great time to completely self-produce and release an album under the name LCD Soundsystem. It receives critical acclaim and now your making a “cover” band out of friends and other musicians to go out on tour with. Years later the band is about to make you and the band massive stars as it is on the cusp of a breakthrough on the charts, yet you decide it’s time to call it quits and end the band. Some call it masochism, others a crippling fear of success, but you are resolute. And you’re going to hold the funeral, a massive last concert, in the most historic venue in New York Madison Square Gardens. This is the premise behind Shut Up and Play the Hits.

The film is from the viewpoint of the man behind the whole phenomenon, James Murphy. We start after the show with Murphy waking after the festivities, his dog nearly steals the show here, and goes about the task of putting things in perspective. Murphy also has to deal with the logistical headaches of packing a massive amount of equipment away for good. This is interspersed with concert footage from the big night.  A third timeline is also introduced which serves as a narrative for the film, a recorded interview with famed reporter Chuck Klosterman. We follow Murphy through his day and his slow realization that it’s all over, leading to a powerful scene in the equipment storage room. All while we hear the prodding questions of Klosterman over the events of the day.

Shut Up does not do much out of the norm for a standard music doc, something strange for a band that did push every boundary. It works best during the quiet moments with Murphy and the live performances with loving interactions with the band. It dosen’t work well with the sometimes completely overbearing Klosterman’s interview playing over scenes.

Ultimately a bit of missed opportunity, much like the band quitting when it did. Shut Up and Play the Hits is still a recommend for the performances and the behind the curtain peek at the mastermind behind it all.

Till next time,

Movie Junkie TO

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