When a group of revelers at the Electric Daisy Carnival lift one of Under the Electric Sky’s subjects into the air by his wheelchair, the sense of euphoria the young man feels at reaching literal and figurative heights is close to heartbreaking. It’s the one moment in the film that gives credence to the idea that this three-day electronic dance music festival in the Las Vegas desert is a holistic gathering ground for every loner who ever had to eat by themselves in the school cafeteria. But even then, filmmakers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipstiz scarcely grasp the spiritual allure that EDM itself has for their subjects, among them a young girl from Texas who sneaks her grandfather’s ashes into the EDC, a couple who met at the festival years ago and plan to marry on the event’s final day, and a group of bros who call themselves the Wolf Pack (no connection to The Hangover, they claim) and who are mourning a friend’s death from a drug overdose. Because Cutforth and Lipstiz don’t push these good-hearted party-happening people to elaborate on their feelings about the sense of belongingness that the festival fosters, the doc merely passes by as a cavalcade of bromides set to same-y beats by world-class DJs like Tiesto, whose narcissism as he tours the venue’s exterior may eclipse in magnitude all the BPMs on the soundtrack combined. And just as queerness is conspicuous by its absence, so is any serious consideration of the drug use that often pairs with extended tastings of EDM. Event promoter Insomniac claims that the EDC has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs, but rather than foreground the security measures that keep molly and other illicit substances out of the festival, the filmmakers focus on the tender-loving care a medic brings to partygoers visibly blitzed out of their minds. As such, Under the Electric Sky shamelessly emerges as a glorified promo video for the Electric Daisy Carnival and assurance to parents the world over that their children will be taken care of should they go down any rabbit holes at the event.
- Focus Features
- 85 min
- Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz
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