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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dj documentary realistic, intimate


    Ridley Scott Associates

    Roughly a year after its final tour and disbanding, electronic dance music trio Swedish House Mafia and director Christian Larson released a documentary chronicling the band’s globe-trotting tour and answering the question on everyone’s mind: Who, when at the very top, walks away from success?

    Though the film, being an in-house production, may not delve into the conflict among the group members as much as it could, it nevertheless provides emotional honesty and is artistically shot.

    “Leave the World Behind” opens with a closing. On June 24, 2012, the group that consisted of DJs/producers Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello, announced that their next tour would be their last. The notion of this, given a little background, was preposterous. The group was one of the hottest commodities on the electronic scene, an act that consisted of three individuals who could each stand alone in their own right but, when put together, resulted in something that was bigger than the sum of its parts.

    In the film, a taste of the tour life is on display. The behemoth stage productions and pyrotechnics, the screaming fans and the distinct cultural flavors of each international stopover seem like your typical tour fun, if not a little bit bigger.

    But the massive backdrop of the tour rightfully plays second fiddle to the more intimate moments of Axwell, Ingrosso and Angello. The deafening crowds, kaleidoscopic lasers and beaming smiles are juxtaposed against quiet men, white hotel rooms and eyes, lost, searching for purpose. They muse to the camera, seemingly thinking out loud with themselves, trying to pinpoint why, indeed, they are all deciding to call it quits on a phenomenon at its peak.

    Unfortunately, with this being an in-house production, there still seems to be the feeling that more was left off-screen. In a documentary, you desire to have as many perspectives as possible, and there are really only two presented here: those of the three members of the group, and those of the ecstatic fans after having seen their performance. However, this level of skewed perspective is nowhere near another recent electronic dance music scene documentary, “EDC 2013: Under the Electric Sky.” This film followed various groups as they made their way to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and, one way or another, the festival seemed to answer all of the groups’ problems and make all of their wildest dreams come true.

    In terms of the visuals, “Leave the World Behind” is the cleanest documentary that I’ve seen. Everything is crisp and looks like a feature film, not the hand-held, fly-by-night operation that most docs seem to look like. The concert sequences are particularly stunning, as the scenes move between what’s happening on stage, backstage and out in the crowd. The sound shifts from pristine, album quality when on stage to the booming, over-modulated noise one hears in the crowd if they try to record it with their cell phone.

    Ultimately, there is no grandiose falling out and no end-all fight.

    The film portrays something much more realistic. Minor annoyances and squabbles come up here and there, which pile up and amount to the unspoken understanding (or misunderstanding) that whatever was there at the beginning isn’t here anymore. By focusing on the dynamics of the group, “Leave the World Behind” makes an accessible, honest documentary.

    Grade: B


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