Wow. WOW! This film is the most beautiful representation of the scene that took the world by storm that i've seen yet, not that there's many. Often it's overlooked and forgotten about, but 2000-2003 scene was something that should be remembered for not only it's greatness, but the impact it had on the music following. Based off of the wonderful collection of interviews by Lizzy Goodman, the film closely follows the shenanigans of The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rapture, The Moldy Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and TV on the Radio.
I had one of those surreal moments in the theater where I thought, "I am so glad to be alive and experiencing this right now". It's not often a musical idol of mine has a documentary made about them and I get to see it on the big screen. Sitting there at the Broadway Metro, I felt as though I was a part of something big, like I was growing up with The Strokes and Interpol and experiencing fame for the first time. Although not every band mentioned in the book was featured in the film, it still encapsulated the New York sound that was so prominent in the 2000s. There's many other artists that made an imprint, like The Vines, Kings of Leon, The Libertines, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend, The White Stripes, and several others. Then again, if everyone one of them had a portion, the film would've been about six times longer than it already is (not that I would've complained).
It seemed every choice was deliberate to the experience of the viewer, from the directorial choices to the music selection. When Last Nite played over the some of The Strokes' history, it made me so nostalgic of something I wasn't even there to experience. I guess their music already makes me nostalgic of my teenage years, even if it wasn't in New York. Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern did an incredible job on this film! One of my friends mentioned this to me, but if you don't notice the directorial choices right away, it usually means they did their job well. Films are supposed to flow, and it's especially tricky with documentaries like this because you're so limited on what footage to use and how to use it in a way that doesn't make it seem boring or aged. If the film is horribly made, you'll notice it immediately, but not at all with this one.
Each piece was expertly put together and executed in a way that flowed well, every band's story building and intersecting until you reach the "crescendo", per se. For instance, Karen O falling off the stage and a monitor landing on her head, Albert getting too deep into drugs, Interpol's second album being leaked to Napster, James Murphy losing The Rapture, etc. It builds, and it falls into a resolution, but one that's more of a hard reality than a happy ending: The scene in New York ended as quickly as it had begun. Maybe that's part of why it's so special to me, so fascinating. It's not particularly that the bands themselves died out, but more the audience. People became less receptive to the music, the crowds were lame, the hype over the bands had lessened. It was just different, as if you're really close with someone, they move away and you lose touch, then they come back, but nothing's the same as it used to be between you. That's what this feels like to me. Losing a close friend, something familiar that feels like home.
I say all this as if I was even alive when this scene was still active in New York. I wasn't unfortunately, so the best I can do is close my eyes, turn on Hard To Explain, and pretend I'm walking down the street and past Gordon Raphael's recording studio, or maybe glance in Wiz Kid Management and see Ryan Gentles hard at work. Who knows, maybe Paul Banks will walk by holding a guitar case. It's New York, anything is possible! This film is going to be on repeat the next few weeks for me, I loved it more than I've loved another movie in a while. I give it a 5/5 stars, which may seem generous, but I truly think it deserves it. Maybe I'm just biased because I love those bands so much, but I don't care! I'll be watching this again and again.