It might get loud… and possibly boring.

It would appear its the season for feature-length music documentaries to rear their often poorly produced heads and find their way into the stockings of students all around the globe: “Dear Timmy, didn’t know what to get you, I hear all the kids are talking about this band – love Nan”.

On paper “It Might Get Loud” is actually a pretty fine documentary – three eras of guitar heroes meet up to talk about music, their instruments and what inspired them to take up the guitar. Jimmy Page represents the golden era, Jack White represents the modern era and The Edge… wait what the fuck is the Edge doing here? You can argue Jack White has no place in this movie if you don’t like his work but he’s certainly an interesting fellow and so is fun to watch whilst on-screen. You can’t deny Jimmy Page, the man is a legend, nuff said but… The Edge? Isn’t he just the guy who makes bland backing music for Bono? The Edge is more machine than man, he sounds like a chess computer, his guitar setup is a series of effects units that he doesn’t even know how to use, he has a guitar tech with him the majority of his screen time!

The Edge aside, “It Might Get Loud” signals a return of pretty musical documentary – no shaky cam here! Most of the shots are pre-planned and well photographed and director Davis Guggenheim gets the most out of emotional moments with reaction shot close ups and allowing for a long pause now and then whilst you take it all in.

In fact if there is a problem with the movie, it actually lies back with its stars: Jimmy Page is great to watch and when he picks up a random guitar from his collection and plays “Ramble On” for a couple bars you know you’re dealing with a legend. His back story is also really well done, from old tv footage of his early 50’s skiffle band appearance to the random story about how “when the levee breaks” was recorded in a stairwell.

Jack White’s section seems a bit forced in places (does Jack White really live in a run down shack in the middle of nowhere? Probably not!) but you can’t deny the man’s musical talent or the passion he has for the blues. Maybe he comes off a little pretentious if you’re not a fan (pretty much everything he owns is old and broken) but it’s what works for him so leave him to it. Jack also represents the young music fan in the picture and looks upon Jimmy Page with the awe that most of us would (he seems genuinely excited to be there and play with him or even just to talk to him).

Then we come to “The Edge”, a man so boring he has to make up a name to make him sound cool. I was willing to give “The Edge” the benefit of the doubt, I don’t know much about him, sure I don’t like his music ut maybe he has an interesting story right? Wrong. “The Edge”s story seems to be that as a youth in a posh Dublin school he saw punk bands on Top of the Pops and said “hey I want to be in a band” so bought a guitar. Any interest for me came from his music making process which appears to be playing the same notes over and over under the influence of various special effects units, he does this a lot, for hours with his tech buddy… I’m actually not sure that he can play, sure he finds the G chord when they’re jamming at the end, but I can do that. I have no evidence to back up his lack of skill, but he has no evidence to show otherwise.

It Might get Loud isn’t a bad documentary, in fact it’s really well produced, seems very well researched and, love him or hate him (I think we get the picture which way this reviewer leans. Ed.), I’m sure getting “The Edge” to appear in your documentary is a pretty big coop. How you view it will depends entirely how you relate to the three artists featured.  I’m sure if I wasn’t a Jack White fan this documentary would do nothing to change my mind and if for some stupid reason I wasn’t a fan of Led Zeppelin maybe Jimmy Page would grate on you a little with his funny little voice and old man stories about back in the day.

If however you’re a fan of all three, you probably need to see this.

2 Responses to “It might get loud… and possibly boring.”

  1. I saw The Edge and got bored. It’s nothing against your writing.

  2. joe falco Says:

    totally agree. I wanted to like this documentary. Such potential. But its a waste of time. I could have edited this down to a nice half hour VH1 type segment. Yawwwwwn. The scenes with “the Edge” were ridiculous. If I were him, I would have had the sense not to appear with two guys who actually know how to play a little.

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