Bookended by performance and behind-the-scenes footage around Luna's last show at the Bowery Ballroom, the emotional weight of Matthew Buzzell's doc following the perpetually under-the-radar NYC indie rockers' farewell tour hinges on the film's structure. You're hit with a wave of melancholy and relief watching wry frontman Dean Wareham and bassist/ladyfriend Britta Phillips prep for the last show in their apartment, yanked back six months to watch the band grind to a halt as they haul their own gear through Tokyo, Barcelona and Minneapolis, then experience the cathartic overload when Wareham and guitarist Sean Eden pull out their patch cords for the last time. Without relying on talking-head interviews, Buzzell makes it abundantly clear why, after 13 years, Luna was done . Having never quite lived up to the fame and success promised by 95's Penthouse, their frustration when a French airline misplaces the T-shirts they're relying on to fund yet another cash-draining Euro-tour is palpable. He's also skilled at capturing the subtleties of band-defining dynamics watch Eden and Warehams' endless bickering.
But like Luna's music, there's a curious emotional distance to the film. Even the most intimate moments -- Wareham playing with his son, Eden trying unsuccessfully to pick up girls on tour -- feel like they're happening behind glass. As Eden remarks about Wareham at one point, the group's members hold their cards close to their chests. That distance makes it tricky for anyone not already enamoured of Luna to really invest in their story, though Buzzell does give a nice overview of the band's catalogue and deftly matches tracks to the mood of specific scenes.