It Might Get Loud (3.5 of 4)

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It Might Get Loud is a rockumentary profile of three “legendary” guitarists–Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. The film’s premise is to put them all in a dimly lit empty warehouse on some retro sofas with electric guitars everywhere and see what happens. I am in a weird position as a viewer of this movie. See, I like Jack White. A lot. He’s like few people I’ve seen and no one I’ve met. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and The Edge of U2 are great guitarists–and I wouldn’t think to say otherwise–but they aren’t as mysterious to me as White is. 

The movie is a little long, but it has some scenes that are just magic. It opens on a farm with a series of close-ups as Jack White makes an electric guitar-like instrument out of a coke bottle, some scraps of wood and a few nails. And when he plays it, it sounds, well, like Jack White playing the guitar. He steps back, looks at his creation and remarks: “Who said you needed to buy a guitar?” 

Music is a wonderful and beautiful thing. I’m not a musician of any kind, but I still know it is a wonderful and beautiful thing. It’s power over people and it’s influence is awe-inspiring. Beethoven once said: “Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.” This film is a testament to that. All three of these iconic men are spiritually connected to the sounds that God has blessed them with the talent to create (even if they don’t see it as God’s gift). 

There is a moment in the movie where The Edge is explaining how he creates the effect on the guitar at the beginning of U2’s song Elevation. The look on his face is pure elation. He’s proud of it not because he made it, but because it’s incredible. And all three men express the same feeling at some point in the film.

Jimmy Page plays the riff from “Whole Lotta Love” in front of the other two, and Jack White and The Edge can’t do anything more than look back and forth at each other smiling–jealous, inspired, fascinated. They all have humility in their appreciation of each other. Especially White, the youngest.

My favorite moment in the movie comes in a house far removed where Jack plays an old record of Son House’s “People Grinnin’ In Your Face” for the camera. His face while he is listening is indescribable. He says at one point that everything about The White Stripes, the aesthetic the brother-sister lie was all a distraction to keep people from finding out they were just trying to play “People Grinnin’ In Your Face.” “We we’re really just trying to play this,” he says. “We still are.” 

This a movie not just for rock n’ roll lovers, but for anyone effected by music. It’s inspiring and timeless. Please don’t pass it up, it holds more than I can describe.  

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  1. Woodstock is great. I watched as part of an American Film History course I took a few years ago. It gives you a real sense of the disorientation of actually being there. And gave Scorsese his editing/creative start.
    Talking Heads I haven’t seen.
    I’m a big fan of I’m Not There, which isn’t a documentary, but it’s about Dylan and how do you document Dylan without fiction? So, I often count it with films like It Might Get Loud.

      • yasutora
      • June 22nd, 2010

      Cool, man! I’ll try an’ check it! I’m a big Dylan fan as well.

        • yasutora
        • July 4th, 2010

        Sorry, forgot to mention another good one- Shine a Light, the Rolling Stones. Be sure to check it out if you ever get a chance. Bye!

    • yasutora
    • June 17th, 2010

    Thanks for taking time to write this. This has become one of my favorite movies of all time! I’m a musician myself, and the movie meant a ton to me. My biggest influences are Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and pretty much any good rock from the sixties and seventies.

    • yasutora
    • June 17th, 2010

    Thanks for taking time to write this. This has become one of my favorite movies of all time! I’m a musician myself, and the movie meant a ton to me. My biggest influences are Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and pretty much any good rock from the sixties and seventies. Thanks again.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve been recommending this documentary non-stop. There are some truly priceless moments in it. Know any other good rock documentaries?

        • yasutora
        • June 19th, 2010

        Er, this is sort of embarrassing, but my real other favorite music movies are Woodstock and, well… Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense. What can I say? You need to admit that David Byrne is possibly the coolest nerd out there. I know those aren’t really documentaries, it’s all I’ve got. I’m trying to get my hands on other ones, though.

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