Shut Up and Play the Hits

Director Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace
United Kingdom / 108 min. / 2011 / English

A controlled death. Here we have James Murphy, the most unlikely rockstar in history, a week before his farewell concert. A cascade of live hits interlace with the star’s day-to-day existence, and his humble perception of the group (and how it all went down).


A planned death. James Murphy’s last waltz, as the most unlikely rockstar in history: mature, mild, well-read with the face of a magazine music-critic, and hardly inclined to make a fool of himself in the name of success or fame (“I had a life before all of this”, he states, a la Bill Withers). In this comprehensive film, we meet him a week before the mass farewell concert thrown by LCD Soundsystem in Madison Square Gardens. The story goes like this: a flurry of live hits (“Someone great”, “Losing my edge”, “All my friends”, etc., alongside covers of “Jump into the fire” by Nilsson, and Alan Vega’s “Bye bye Bayou”), interwoven with snippets of the frontman’s daily existence and his humble perception of the group. Murphy speaks candidly about life on the road (“I got grey hair every time we did a tour”); of the early days (“We were like an LCD Soundsystem cover band”); of ambition that was incompatible with humility (“We didn’t feel special but we wanted to leave our mark); of composition, of the reasons behind the split; overindulgence and fear of mass success (but also fear of failure). A true testament, filmed with impeccable taste.  


British directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace met at film school in Liverpool. After graduating they moved into music videos and ads. Their first documentary was No Distance Left To Run, a film about Blur.



Showing format

in festivals
Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Hot Docs, Brussels, Filmfest Munich, Karlovy Vary, Melbourne IFF, Helsinki IFF, Rio IFF, Athens IFF, Milan IFF

James Murphy, Keith Wood, Pat Mahoney, Al Doyle, Nancy Whang

Mark Burnett

Reed Morano

Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, James Murphy

Film company
Pulse Films Ltd

Film distributor
K5 International

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