It Might Get Loud (Davis Guggenheim, 2009): USA

Reviewed by Byron Potau.  Viewed at The Mann Festival Theatre as part of the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Director Davis Guggenheim’s documentary It Might Get Loud brings together guitar legends Jimmy Page and U2’s The Edge, and adds the younger Jack White, who continues to make name for himself. The three discuss music, their influences, their styles, and what helped them develop along the way.  Oh yes, and they jam.

Working without much of a script, the three guitarists sit together on a stage, and talk about their past.  The film includes more in-depth interviews with each man on what he listens to, and the three teach each other how to play their songs with each adding a little something of their own.

There is plenty here for music fans and guitar aficionados.  The most revealing insights include how much technology can change, enhance, and alter music, making a very elementary riff sound far more complex.  There is great use of archival footage, especially with regard to Jimmy Page and his early days, and the three artists appear to enjoy a true chemistry in their jams together, playing each other’s songs and having fun in the process.

In editing the film together, Greg Finton makes the mistake of moving too quickly from one artist to another and back again in an attempt to unify their experiences.  Just as we want to hear the rest about The Edge and how he developed his sound, we are redirected to Jimmy Page and how he developed his sound and the build-up is lost when we finally return to The Edge’s story.

The film offers the unique opportunity to see these three accomplished guitarists doing what they do best and doing it together…and yes, it does get loud.  It seems like there is so much more they could talk about or more that we want to hear, but for what it does offer, it is good and worthwhile.  However, a miniseries of documentaries seems like it would have been more appropriate, as it feels this film has only scratched the surface.

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