Posted by: gdevi | March 6, 2011

Movie Review: It Might Get Loud (2008)

It is only when you see Jimmy Page, “The Edge” of U2 and Jack White play electric guitar that you start fearing for the guitar-less direction that contemporary music seems to be taking. This is a fantastic documentary that showcases the expressive power and overwhelming beauty of the electric guitar. The documentary feels sort of shapeless, but I think it is intentional. The director Davis Guggenheim seems to leave these three men to discuss bits and pieces of their musical past and present–the music of their childhood and youth, the early bands, the wasted years of session music work, their enduring influences,  the glorious synergy of finding the right band etc–but what binds these three musicians together for this show is their mutual deep knowledge about the power and beauty of the electric guitar, the things it can do, the songs it can sing, the stories it can tell. I don’t know the music of U2 that much at all, but this Edge is a fantastic musician; quiet, contemplative and immensely methodical. I had not heard of Jack White either before this documentary–I am not at all plugged into the current music scene unfortunately–but I like him. I don’t think it is make-up, but he actually looks like Malcolm Macdowell who played Alex in The Clockwork Orange and he has a wonderful voice and knows music very well. I liked his voice very much; his cover of The Band’s The Weight is just beautiful. Jack White plays a gorgeous song by Son House “Grinning in Your Face” — he says that was his big influence in wanting to play music a certain way–and it is a beautiful song and you can hear how the real blues are connected at the root to rock and roll; these are songs sung by profoundly moral men who are insulted and humiliated who will sing simply to transcend. It takes tremendous power to sing such songs and the electric guitar is an elemental force in this equation. We all fell in love with Jimmy Page all over again; he looks like Gandolf from the Lord of the Rings now, godlike and handsomely aged with his shock of pure white hair. At one point in the documentary, he pulls out an old vinyl of Link Wray’s Rumble and puts that one on the turntable–his great love he says–and we see Jimmy Page playing air guitar to Link Wray while explaining the vibrato. It is a precious scene. There is really no doubt that Jack White and The Edge probably felt like the rest of us do listening to Jimmy Page play; Page plays my favorite song Whole Lotta Love and you can see how like kids Jack White and The Edge watch his fingers move.I love the part where Page explains his search for the crescendo; the mystic poets do too–there is no need to come down from a high. Electric guitar lets you stay there. Bliss does too. Jimmy Page plays guitar like a sitar. Led Zeppelin’s music is so much like Indian classical music; they would have made fine Hindustani musicians. They might dress different or take a different path; but they were looking for the same thing. Don’t you just love rock and roll?

Anyway this documentary has inspired both D and K to play electric guitar and I have been listening to the opening bars of Rumble continuously since yesterday. Good choice, dear daughter, see isn’t this much better than guitar hero? My hand hurts, D says. Yes, now do you understand why Mark Knopfler sang maybe get a blister on your little finger maybe get a blister on your thumb? Those are the fingers you don’t use to play guitar. This is a great documentary for anyone interested in guitar music. Netflix has it for instant streaming and on DVD. Watch it, you are in for a treat.



  1. […] th&#1077 original post here: Movie Assess: It M&#1110&#609ht G&#1077t Loud (2008) « kaivalya Related Posts:It Might Get Loud (2008) – Favorite Movie Reviews It Might Get Loud tells the […]

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