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SXSW Movie Review: Swedish House Mafia documentary 'Leave The World Behind'

Leave the World Behind

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Director Christian Larson captures the Swedish House Mafia's decision to bring an end to their life's biggest achievement in order to save their friendships in a new documentary film "Leave The World Behind" which premiered at SXSW on March 12.

Director Christian Larson
Director Christian Larson
Photo by Michael Buckner

Utilizing a mix of interviews, live show clips and behind-the-scenes video, Larson takes audiences along with the trio as they travel the globe on their "One Last Tour," the largest worldwide electronic music tour in history with over 1,000,000 tickets sold worldwide in just one week.

"Leave The World Behind" attempts to take viewers backstage into the private lives of Swedish House Mafia's DJs/producers Axel Christofer Hedfors (aka Axwell), Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrasso, utilizing a fly-on-the-wall approach for most of the film which includes private moments in hotel rooms, homes, jet planes, tour buses and backstage at shows.

However, Larson is not a journalist and it shows in his interviews on camera.

Deeper topics such as what caused the rift between band members and why the group broke up at the height of their fame are addressed but not fully answered.

Instead, the film feels like a glorified music video with entertaining and visually striking imagery of the group's farewell tour from shows around the world.

The use of animation sequences with black and white video interviews and a spectacular helicopter shot of the trio in a powerboat off Miami helps to keep things lively but adds little substance to the real story behind the group's breakup.

In the end, "Leave The World Behind" seems designed to be a fan-friendly love-feast for the eyes and ears of Swedish House Mafia's devout followers.

The producers and director know their target market for the film and deliver with all the requisite beats.

But if you're an outsider peeking into this strangely hypnotic 124-beats-per-second electronic dance music scene for the first time, Larson's documentary will either leave you wanting more or have you tuning out.

"Leave The World Behind" premiered on March 12 at SXSW. It opens in Sweden March 17 and will be available for download on iTunes in April.