Movie Review: Leave The World Behind (2014 documentary on SHM)

Swedish House Mafia Leave The World Behind 2014 movie still boat sea

Leave The World Behind is the One Last Treat for Swedish House Mafia’s die-hard fans, a much-needed closure to the trio’s disc jockey legacy

Enter Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello’s One Last Tour together in this seemingly honest and raw documentary (rawer than their music ha-ha!) that takes audiences through the once-one of the top house music outfit’s final year together after officially announcing their breakup in 2012. In between, there are brief introduction and background on the trio and their relationship, shown in humourous animation. There’s also some rare footages of prior to their success along with moments that could’ve been the final straws that led to their eventual breakup.

Firstly, I have to admit, I’m still not a big fan of EDM (electronic dance music) nor do I even understand the point of having 3 DJ’s spinning in front of a big crowd. To me, it makes lesser sense to have an absurd nine-piece girl pop group dancing and singing (without lipsyncing) on stage. Which is why I do appreciate how this documentary does not try to over-glorify what DJ’s do. It does, however, show that when the trio produce music and gigs, they have the crowd in mind. They’d predict what their fans might enjoy and what’d get their bodies moving, and create that experience for them. The members each have different influences, from hip hop to Daftpunk, but they liked each other’s work, and with passion and the fun they take in what they did, they managed to incorporate each other’s style and came up with the sound that made them SHM.

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The film opens with one of Abraham Lincoln’s famous quotes, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, which I feel is a bit too much to use as reference for this situation. But I guess it’s still relevant. The trio started of with a lot of excitement and fun, but through the interviews and some of the footages, we can see that they are starting to feel either tired of tolerating each other, unable to commit as much anymore, going no further with their music or growing out of their and young culture. They call this feeling “emptiness”. At one part, it shows one of them telling his story of how much he used to party with a lot of alcohol and drugs consumption, and now he’s married man with a child (actually, all three of them already have a family then), so much have changed in that sense alone.

The film can be a little too dull, especially when the viewer isn’t a fan, but at least it feels truthful, without all that typical cheesy Hollywood dramatisation in most documentaries. There isn’t even a straight up answer to why they broke up but this documentary is highly effective in allowing the fans to feel and understand it instead. And again, I really enjoyed the raw honesty. Besides the footages of the unnecessary complaining and whining of the trio, it even shows how Sebastian Ingrosso refuses to accept and wear a flower necklace (very much like Hawaii’s leis) given by the local attendants when they arrived here in Malaysia. The other two told him not to be rude, it’s a Malaysian tradition, and Ingrosso responded frustratingly saying, “I don’t give a shit.” Well although it was indeed rude of him, I’m actually not sure if it’s a big thing to have refused that ’cause even I don’t know if lei was seriously a thing in our country.

Swedish House Mafia Leave The World Behind 2014 movie still malaysia meme

But one thing though, the film repeats their final hit single Don’t You Worry Child so many times that its catchy tune forced its way into my head and now I find myself singing the chorus out at times. It’s like that period of time when that absurd nine-piece girl pop group’s Nobody But You song was playing at every corner of the city here. Oh wait, is that song by the same group I’m talking about? Ah, fuck it. “I don’t give a shit.”

What I would’ve named the film: “SHM: Why We Broke Up”

Censorship in Malaysia: Can’t recall if there’s any scene censored at the media preview screening held at GSC Mid Valley Megamall. But I do remember a lot of F-bombs. For the sake of the fans, I do hope that the one night showing is going to be completely uncut.

Second opinion: My girlfriend said that the documentary is pretty sincere, to the extend that it actually made her feel sad that SHM has disbanded even though she’s not a hardcore fan.

Verdict: Not exactly the most exciting music documentary but it’s less polished, basically raw, which is definitely what a true fan would appreciate.

Rating: 3 / 5

Rated: 18
Genre: Music documentary
Running Time: 95 minutes
Director: Christian Larson
Cast: Axel Hedfors, Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello

Malaysia Release Date: April 11th 2014 (one night only at selected GSC cinemas)
Local Distributor: GSC Movies
Studio: Ridley Scott Associates

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