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Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie (2005)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 26 July 2005 (USA)
Drive Well, Sleep Carefully joins Death Cab for Cutie on tour in the spring of 2004. Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured dozens of shows across the country and interviewed the band at length... See full summary »



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Drive Well, Sleep Carefully joins Death Cab for Cutie on tour in the spring of 2004. Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured dozens of shows across the country and interviewed the band at length in their hometown of Seattle, WA. Shot entirely on 16mm film, the live footage is mixed with candid conversations about the creative process, the band's dedication to their work and life on the road. Written by Chris Ronis

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Documentary | Music


Not Rated




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Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - A Close Look at Death Cab For Cutie
4 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

Drive Well, Sleep Carefully is a fantastic video documentary about the tour life of Seattle's indie band Death Cab For Cutie. The documentary was filmed and directed by Justin Mitchell. The footage was all captured on 16mm film during the tour following the band's 4th release, Transatlanticism.

Justin Mitchell is a filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. He has only done two other documentaries. His debut documentary was called Songs For Cassavetes. The film focuses on the indie and punk scene in the 1990s and was filmed all over the country. His second film was called Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: Dirty Old Town. It was basically a handful of interviews and live footage of Ted Leo and his band.

Drive Well, Sleep Carefully was released in 2005. The film features a lot of live footage of the band. Typically, in the middle of a song, the live scenes will cut to interviews with the band. Most of the interviews are with Ben Gibbard, who is the singer-songwriter and guitarist for the band. The interviews really capture the humor and the good nature of the band. Gibbard talks about his songwriting process and where the inspirations for his songs came from. Perhaps the most interesting part of the film is during the song, Styrofoam Plates. Gibbard talks about how the song focuses on one of his good friends, who had a negligent father. The song is about the man being at his father's funeral and everyone is saying all of these great things about him, but it's all just made up. Everyone really knows that he was not a good human being.

Mitchell has a good eye. It was an interesting choice to shoot the entire film on 16mm film. It gave the film a very personal touch. He incorporates a lot of unique camera shots, often including extreme close ups on the faces or the instruments. The footage allows the watcher to truly experience what it's like to be up on the stage in the band, as opposed to a member of the audience. At times, the camera work was a little too shaky for my personal taste, but I realize that he filmed it all without a tripod.

One of the oddest moments in the film was during their live performance of Company Calls. Mitchell put the video just slightly out of sync with the audio, giving the scene a dreamy feeling. It helped bring me into the state of mind of exhaustion that the band members were feeling during the tour.

The use of voice overs was very common in the film. They often instead of cutting to actually interview footage might just have Gibbard's voice over the live performance, giving a brief remark. This helped add to the artistic direction of the piece.

Overall, Drive Well, Sleep Carefully is a wonderful documentary about the band Death Cab For Cutie. If you are a Death Cab fan, I would highly recommend that you pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

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