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Brandon Blows Out His Speakers Watching It Might Get Loud

by
August 13, 2009

It Might Get Loud

If the world was to end tomorrow, tonight I'd want to be with Jack White and his blood-stained guitar. And whether that guitar be hand carved, plastic, or merely a plank, a coke bottle, and a single amped wire -- with Jack White plucking the strings, the world would end and my eyes would be closed. And that's actually how I found myself for much of An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim's latest music documentary, It Might Get Loud -- with my eyes closed. I had to consciously remind myself that what I was seeing before me was at times just as beautiful and illuminating as what I was hearing. And always as impacting.

As a prominently visual medium, cinema generally uses sound to underwrite, expand, and compliment what it is that the audience is seeing. But when one's film is about that very thing, music, it's the visuals that become the compliment. Whether we're in North Carolina with The White Stripes' Jack White of the present, in U2's Edge's studio in Ireland, or Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page's home in England -- Guggenheim filmed these juggernauts of rock 'n' roll to not only express their story, but to elucidate their indefinable creative spark. Page's reserved cool, ever the old master and consummate artist. Edge's technophilic search for that perfect sound. And White's musical masochism. It's Guggenheim's ability to bottle what is, ostensibly, creativity at large that makes this film such a success. It Might Get Loud is a portrait of three artists and a mural of each of their passions.

The film's pace is akin to a great song. Always building. At times wandering through solos of each guitarist's inspiration and weaving chords of experiences where each of the three finds that perfect guitar, their guitar. We move through the lifetimes of Page, Edge, and White and come to know them as people as well as artists -- unplugged as well as mic'ed and amped. Like a chorus, the documentary is centered around the first-time meeting of these musicians in a studio. It builds through discussions of each of their unique sounds and what drove each of them to pursue the electric guitar. The academic concentration on each of their faces as they talk shop, the genuine looks of admiration for each of their approaches. Edge's labyrinthine effects array, Page's smooth, technical genius, and White's bloody struggle. The genesis, pursuit, and capture of Art. It's a clinic of masters, and the camaraderie is truly awesome.

Then they play. And it's loud, as it should be -- as it has to be. And, I assure you, it's okay to close your eyes. Just listen. And starting on August 14th, It Might Get Loud can be seen -- and heard -- in limited release.

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  • Blues Shoes
    Great piece. Very well written. Looking forward to seeing this movie.
  • mjc
    This looks cool !!
  • zubzwank
    A terrific thing to get these very influential musicians together.
  • Dan W
    Don't care enough about these guitarists to watch the movie. John Frusciante deserves to be in this film.
  • Jed
    I'm with you Dan, Jimmy is the only one of interest for me.
  • I saw the trailer for this doc yesterday on "Nothing But Trailers" and it looks extremely interesting! I don't know a lot about Jack White, but I'd love to learn more. Very well written, Brandon.
  • I just loved the music simply beacuse of its music.One of the best original score to come out in 2009.I would love to watch the movie again in the future
  • Very nice review. Not only well made, but also very entertaining film.
  • it's look great..music in it how can it be bad..i look foward to see this movie.
  • guh
    Page is the only person in this movie that would make it worth seeing.
  • This sounds great. Thx for the review. I would like to watch it.
  • Very nice review i have searched for a movie which i can watch at the weekend.
  • zubzwank
    In this and other boards pertaining to this movie, everybody is naming the guitarist from their favorite band and saying he/she should be in the movie. I've seen, in addition to John Frusciante above, Billie Joe Armstrong, Yngwie Malmsteem, Mike Mcready, even some dead ones like Hendrix and SRV. I'm a boomer. I could throw in Clapton, Beck, Townshend, Young, K Richards, and many others. I don't think that's the idea. I think they wanted to show generations of influence by selecting guitarists whose impact is sustained and permanent. Whether or not you like Led Zeppelin or U2, that is what you get with their guitarists, especially Page. I have thought before that incipient rock electric guitarists must pass through the portal of Hendrix. It's probably just as true with Page. Re: the Edge-a hell of a lot of bands in the last 30 years (U2 debuted in 1980) have imitated that effects echo overdrive of which he is the greatest practitioner . He's been around, he'll gonna stay around, and people will be listening--and being influenced--for a long time. Jack White--we'll see. I like some of what I've heard. Frusciante, Armstrong, also--we'll see (if we live long enough. Page is getting close to 50 years of recording). You can play my favorite band/guitarist all day long. Heck, I love that game. But that's not the idea behind this film.
  • I would love to see a similar film about oasis, now with the complete albums out it would be a nice addon.

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