The movie opens on LCD Soundsystem’s frontman and creator, James Murphy, awakening in his bed the night after his band’s triumphant final show. He gets up, a curious expression on his face. He checks his phone, looks at as if he’s going to call someone back, then thinks better of it. He feeds the dog. He takes the dog for a walk. His expression doesn’t change. We begin to realize that we are watching a man with no concept of how he feels, who has awoken for the first time in his life with no purpose at all. He wanders aimlessly through his massive white apartment, picking things up and putting them back down. He isn’t sad or bereaved. He’s just lost.
He goes out and runs errands, visiting his manager, closing down his offices, meeting his band for one last celebratory dinner. At his manager’s behest, he goes to take one last look at the band’s instruments, locked away in storage room somewhere, before they are parceled out and sold. He stands in a dingy cement, surrounded by rows of guitars and keyboards, and without warning, just starts crying. He stands there, unmoving, for a long, long, minute, weeping without a hint of control.
These scenes are intercut with songs from the previous night’s performance (actually, these scenes intercut the performance), a wildly successful show at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, with enraptured fans dancing wildly about. The band plays the songs with end-of-the-world gusto. The concert is brilliantly captured by a horde of hidden handheld cameramen. He’s joined on stage by A-list guests like Reggie Watts and Arcade Fire (fine, one for two). It’s the best concert film I’ve ever seen. Yet none of it sticks with me like the images of a middle-aged man, weeping alone in a gray basement room, sadly and deliberately closing a chapter on his life.