LCD Soundsystem doc ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ is lively and probing
Shut Up and Play the Hits Directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern UK, 2012
Hundreds of white balloons descend upon the Madison Square Garden audience during LCD Soundsystem’s final live show. A notable and influential band in their own right, frontman James Murphy decided to disband the group at the peak of their popularity in 2011, ensuring that the band would go out on top with what was arguably the band’s most ambitious concert of their career. Filmmakers Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern would chart that eventful night in New York, while also calling into question Murphy’s abrupt decision to call it quits. Being a fan of the group brings extra incentive and pleasure out of watching Murray wrestle with his decision throughout film. We’re privy to his spiraling collective consciousness that remains undefined to a certain degree even after the film closes.
This isn’t to say that all of the film deals with such ramifications and regret on Murphy’s part; most of it functions as an energetic and lively party. We’re essentially front row for the concert, focusing in on the band and their faithful fans as each party comes to grips with saying goodbye; Lovelace and Southern give us a before and after concert look at Murphy, juxtaposing footage from the concert throughout – arguably the film’s bulkiest portion. It’s a simple editing maneuver that allows for narrative contemplation on Murphy’s behalf, as he’s interviewed regarding his decision roughly a week before the concert by writer Chuck Klosterman.