As “The Last Waltz” was for the Band and aging hippies, “Shut Up and Play the Hits” is for indie dance-rock’s LCD Soundsystem and the kids who were in high school on 9/11. Eleven songs from the group’s epic farewell gig at Madison Square Garden last spring make it into the mix, although co-directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace are less interested in concert-docu stylistics than in pondering the meaning of frontman James Murphy’s decision to pull the plug on LCD and stage the band’s “funeral.” A shrewd distrib could market the pic as generational eulogy rather than fans-only souvenir.(Docu – U.K.) Much like the band’s self-conscious synth-pop itself, “Shut Up” is initially satiric but ultimately disarming in its emotional resonance. Overlong scenes of laid-back Murphy shaving and walking his French bulldog gradually lead, with the help of audio-track questions from writer Chuck Klosterman, to the 41-year-old rock star’s meditations on his parting gesture as a communal exercise in coping with mortality. Appropriately, the audience factors significantly in concert scenes, wherein songs such as “Losing My Edge” and “All My Friends” strike both euphoric and elegiac chords. Sound is pleasingly piercing.
A Pulse Films production. (International sales: WME Global, Los Angeles.) Produced by Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, James Murphy. Executive producers, Keith Wood, Christine Vachon. Co-executive producers, Terry Felgate, Randall Poster. Directed by Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace.
Camera (color, HD), Reed Morano; editor, Mark Burnett; music supervisors, Jane Bridgeman, Candy Rebbeck; sound, Stephen Revitte, James Murphy, Gunnar Bjerk, Jesse Flower-Ambroch, Gillian Arthur, Micah Bloomber, Will Lovelace. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Park City at Midnight), Jan. 25, 2012. Running time: 108 MIN.
James Murphy, Pat Mahoney, Nancy Whang, Al Doyle, Gavin Russom, Tyler Pope, Matt Thornley, Keith Wood, Chuck Klosterman.