A frank discussion about the “best case scenario” for Gord Downie after his brain cancer diagnosis and the his struggle to live up to expectations as the Tragically Hip mounted last summer’s farewell tour are among the most powerful moments in the new documentary “Long Time Running.”
“It’s kind of over for everybody, and that’s kind of a lot to bear, I think,” says Patrick Downie in the film, as he recalls learning of his brother’s diagnosis. But there are sprinkles of levity amidst all the darkness, including a scene in which Downie polishes his boots while stripped down to his underpants. “It’s a nightly thing. I’ve done this my whole career,” he reassures the camera.
Some fans seemed befuddled by Downie’s penchant for kissing his band mates on the lips at each concert. The singer unabashedly addresses the unusual show of affection in the doc. “It went from hugs a bunch of years ago and it’s just grown and grown and grown,” he says. “These last ones were just me not letting go. I’ve got my arms around Robbie (Baker) and I’m just kissing the ear.”.
Netflix has taken the world streaming rights to the documentary, excluding Canada so it will probably end up there as well. The final Tragically Hip concert, broadcast live, was watched by 11.7 million Canadians, the second-largest audience in Canadian TV history.
Here are details on the showing.