The Upshot: A most fitting tribute to the Canadian stars – and a most fitting goodbye to their charismatic frontman.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
The Tragically Hip were most definitely a Canadian band. Despite some strong pockets of fervent fans in the U.S. and elsewhere across the globe, over the border up north they were U2, Springsteen, Petty and the Rolling Stones all rolled into one.
That diehard, decades-long devotion to the band can be seen throughout Long Time Running (95 mins; Eagle Vision), an emotional documentary focusing on The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour. With singer Gord Downie diagnosed with incurable brain cancer, the Ontario-based group decided to give their devotees a proper goodbye in the form of a 15-date cross-Canada run of shows in 2016. The film intersperses performance shots with fan testimonials and interviews with the band and Downie’s doctors.
After diagnosis, it was not clear that the band could perform again, with treatment causing Downie to forget most of the lyrics to their songs, but the singer that eventually took the stage month later seems to be in prime form, with the audience helping by singing along to every single song.
Even if you’ve never heard a minute of the Tragically Hip, there is still plenty to enjoy about Long Time Running. Emotional without being exploitive and appreciative without drifting into overt fawning over the subject, the directors did a commendable job of bringing to life a story about a band saying goodbye on its own terms