Docs That Rock

Early reviews for IT MIGHT GET LOUD

A few weeks ago I previewed upcoming music docs at the Toronto International Film Festival. Getting much of the attention is the new film that hails rock guitars heros. It Might Get Loud , by Davis Guggenheim, director of the Al Gore doc “An Inconvenient Truth,” profiles the sound of strumming through Jimmy Page, the Edge and the White Stripes’ Jack White. Scatterolight, mostly a U2 fan blog, and Mad Hatter, a movie guy, gush over the legends who showed up in Toronto. Early reviews,though, are somewhat mixed. Twitch, a film site, call the “love letter to the electric guitar” as the three distinct artists tell stories of their own musical journeys. It says:

Much more interesting are the sequences with The Edge and Page, both of whom have spent the bulk of their careers hugely overshadowed by larger-than-life vocalists being given the chance to talk about themselves and their craft in their own words, with scarcely a mention of their respective front men….also fascinating are the sequences are the scene in which the trio sit to jam together, each of them taking a turn to show off a favorite riff, to teach one of their songs to the others…when Page steps up and hits the opening notes of Whole Lotta Love both The Edge and White visibly struggle to keep themselves from cracking up like a couple of star struck kids. Yes, as much as they’ve accomplished they’re both still fans first.

But the Eye Weekly says the film veers closely to “Nigel Tufnel territory.” (Meow!) Mark Olsen of the LA Times also laments the film, while having some great jamming and insight to Jimmy Page, doesn’t hold together.

Guggenheim has chosen to shoot the film in a sort of epic portraiture style reminiscent of the photography of Annie Leibovitz, but that only serves to highlight the stunted strangeness of the situations, and make the film seem somehow phony even as the participants are trying to explain themselves honestly.

One of our folks at VH1 was expected to see the film so I’ll get the full skinny from her when she returns. No clips on the Net yet.


September 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out!

    I want to see it again before I put together a full-on review of the film, and just wrote what I wrote as a knee-jerk reaction. What I do want to say though, is that the film is a well made doc…and isn’t just a talking heads loveletter to these three guitarists.

    Page spends most of his time reflecting on the past, but White and Edge actually give some pretty interesting insight into how they continue to create. White actually gets the whole films started with a sweet little scene of do-it-yourself guitar making.

    Having been disappointed with rather dull features on musicians I admire like USA vs JOHN LENNON, and AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO, I think this film reaches further and achieves as a stand alone documentary, and not a video made for and by fans of the subjects themselves.

    Comment by Mad Hatter | October 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] I’ve related the early reviews for It Might Get Loud, a doc about the electric guitar playing and the prowess of masters like Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White (again.) Finally, the trailer is out (see above) and a recent LA Times piece had some good quotes from Davis Guggenheim, the director, who famously did An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore. Guggenheim, who calls himself a “Behind the Music” junkie, nevertheless says his film was a “rethink” of the music documentary: They’re either about car wrecks or drug overdoses, or they’re about celebrity worship, big platitudes about how they changed American culture. We wanted to go deeper. […]

    Pingback by Trailer released for It Might Get LOUD « Docs That Rock | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  3. Jimmy Page was “hugely overshadowed” by Robert Plant? What? You’re kidding right? As a guitarist of 40 years I can tell you that Jimmy Page is actually one of the most exposed and promoted guitarits in the history of rock & roll. Sure, Led Zeppelin had a prolific lead singer as did every great band the Stones, Who, etc. But Jimmy Page is regarded as one of the most influential guitarist of the last 40 years! How was he overshadowed?

    Comment by Tom McAuley | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Totally great point….a bit overstated by that reviewer, huh?

      Comment by Warren Cohen | December 29, 2009 | Reply

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