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Drive Well, Sleep Carefully

Justin Mitchell


Drive Well, Sleep Carefully
Directed by: Justin Mitchell
The popularity of rock docs has brought with it an expectation of excess — We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dig!, Some Kind of Monster and Festival Express all featured rock stars indulging in the typical booze, drugs, sex and hijinks. You can forget about all of that with this gorgeously photographed Death Cab for Cutie road journal. The four nerds from Seattle grab a beer once in awhile, but they save all excess for the stage. Following the final three weeks of Death Cab’s breakthrough Transatlanticism tour in 2004, director Mitchell finds the band weary and tired of playing “President of What?” (which sucks anyway, and isn’t in the movie). Mostly performance-driven, the film’s setlist draws heavily from The Photo Album (“We Laugh Indoors,” a revealing “Styrofoam Plates,” “Why You’d Want to Live Here”) and Transatlanticism (the way overused title track, “Tiny Vessels,” “Expo ’86,” “We Looked Like Giants,” “The New Year”). It’s not a comprehensive piece of archival footage — it’s a 16mm-snapshot of a moment in a band’s time. Valuable, but not essential.
—Tara Thorne

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