LA Film Festival Review: IT MIGHT GET LOUD

Kate Erbland

by: Kate Erbland
June 20th, 2009


“Davis Guggenheim gives audiences a front row seat to a rock summit of three generations of awesome guitar musicians, represented by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2′s The Edge, and the White Stripes’ Jack White.

Before the highly anticipated meeting, this electric documentary traces each man’s musical roots and the fateful paths they traveled to forge their own distinct sounds. Their struggles are fascinating, a sacrosanct glimpse into the history of the electric guitar. The hardcore passion, dedication, and unbridled glee the artists exude for their craft is undeniable as they share riffs, inspirations, and trade secrets with each other. The energy of the philosophical mash up of soul, blues, electric, and folk buzzes and builds to a to-die-for backstage crescendo.” (official festival synopsis)

It used to be that the rock documentary genre was reserved for hard-core music wonks who wanted a closer look at their favorite bands. But rock docs have been steadily improving in the past few years – films like SHINE A LIGHT and SOME KIND OF MONSTER proved to appeal to fans and non-fans alike. So a doc like IT MIGHT GET LOUD seems like the next natural progression – a rock documentary not just about one band, or even one man – but a rock doc about an instrument, about a three men who have dedicated their lives to it. IT MIGHT GET LOUD is ostensibly about the electric guitar, but it’s also very much about the passion, desire, and drive it has instilled in some of its fiercest devotees.

IT MIGHT GET LOUD is an instant classic for many reasons. Guggenheim and crew wisely chose not only three very talented guitarists, but three guitarists that span generations and musical tastes. Hardcore U2 fans will walk out of the theater seriously digging Jack White and wanting to put some White Stripes on rotation ASAP. Kiddos who idolize Jack will raid their parents’ vinyl to get their hot little hands on some Zep, because could Jimmy Page be any cooler?

Guggenheim crafted his film wisely, it’s beautifully edited to have a distinct flow. Segments are divided up by theme (a personal favorite is “Suddenly Everything Changed”), but nothing ever feels forced to fit. Page, the Edge, and White all had different stories and lives that led them to the electric guitar, even if those stories all boil down to one essential element – they couldn’t not play the guitar. IT MIGHT GET LOUD is peppered with interesting anecdotes, rare archival footage, and deeply personal ruminations. But, basically, it’s a love story.

The only problem I had with IT MIGHT GET LOUD was that I craved more jam session segments. Some of the best scenes in the film were when Page, the Edge, and White truly allowed their guitars to talk to each other. There’s a moment when Page cuts into “Whole Lotta Love,” and instead of joining in with him (as the three previously had when rocking out), White and the Edge just sit back in wonder. They can’t hide their smiles and amazement, and the audience can’t help but feel the exact same way. Don’t leave until the credits are totally over, or you’ll miss an epic jam to The Band’s “The Weight” that would make even a music novice tingle.

IT MIGHT GET LOUD will have a limited release on August 14.

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  • allisonloring

    This is one of my favorite movies so far this year. Would have liked to see more jam session footage too, but other than that, this was a love story I could get behind. :)

  • _michael_

    will i still like this movie even if i'm not a *huge* fan of any of these people?

  • ChaseWhale

    Yes, you absolutely will!! If you're a fan of rock and the guitar, you'll love it

  • KateErbland

    I guarantee it, dudesy.

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