Run time: 108 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 18th July 2012
Box Office USA: $0.5M
Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern
Producer: Thomas Benski, James Murphy, Lucas Ochoa
Starring: James Murphy as Himself, Chuck Klosterman as Himself, Tyler Pope as Himself, Keith Wood as Himself, Pat Mahoney as Himself, Nancy Whang as Herself, Al Doyle as Himself, Gavin Russom as Himself, Matt Thornley as Himself, Gunnar Bjerk as Himself
It came as a shock when Murphy announced that after just over 10 years, he was shutting his band down. Amid questions about why he came to this decision, we watch him being interviewed by journalist Klosterman, talking about the stress of touring at age 41 (he struck fame at the relatively late age of 30) and the impossibility of having a normal life or relationship. We also see him wake up in the morning after the concert with his chubby French bulldog at his side, then make coffee and wander around town, taking an emotional look at the band's history stored in a warehouse and meeting up for a meal with his friends.
These two sequences are edited in amongst scenes of the concert itself, with the soaring music, intelligently feisty lyrics and several famous guest artists. The journalist interview acts as a kind of narration, but filmmakers Lovelace and Southern leave us to work out the details. In other words, this film will have a much stronger resonance for fans than for those unfamiliar with the band's music. But even newcomers will find the exploration of fame and artistry unusually personal.
That said, the intimate approach sometimes feels rather clinical, since we watch everything from Murphy's focussed perspective, even though we don't really know much about him. There isn't any background information, no commentary from friends, bandmates or family (although he interacts with them on camera), and no real insight into what he plans to do after his iconic band ceases to exist. Beyond producing this film, of course.