creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
brian till
Brian Till
27 Jan 2010
The Dysfunctional Marriage

In April 2001, a green and inward-looking American president had to deal with his first foreign policy crisis:… Read More.

13 Jan 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

If there's anyone out there arguing about the impact of electing a black president on this nation's African-… Read More.

6 Jan 2010
Obama and Northwest 253

On Christmas day, the president was singing carols with his family in Hawaii when an aide arrived with news … Read More.

It Gets Loud

Comment

It begins modestly enough, with Jack White, a famed if not infamously gritty rocker, rigging together a piece of wood, a classic Coca-Cola bottle and a metal wire, while standing alongside a Tennessee porch, a cigarette jammed between his lips. Soon, there is a taut line and an amplifier's attached, and the familiar sound of a screaming guitar wails across.

"Who says you need to buy a guitar?" the almost Amish-looking post-punk legend offers incredulously as the sound fades.

As the cinematic awards season picks up, let me direct you toward something you likely haven't heard of, but certainly should have. "It Might Get Loud" stands as one of the best films I've seen in the last several years.

It's a rock documentary and, in addition to White, it stars Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and U2's The Edge. Unlike most rock docs, it is not based on a specific tour, or even a single band, but rather on the history and art of guitarmanship.

It's about the evolution of the craft and the personal narratives of three of its most iconic apprentices. The film comes from filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, best known for directing Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Trust that anyone capable of making our former vice president and a PowerPoint presentation into an Oscar-winning film will have substantial material to work with given three rock stars and a plethora of their time.

The story of each, their first guitars and the works that inspired their respective provocations in the genre are woven together nearly seamlessly and culminate with the three playing together on a Los Angeles sound stage. With seven cameras rolling, overcharged amps, and a small stage that feels like a living room stripped from the '70s, the three sit in a circle, their guitars and a small table between them.

"Loud" is a marvelous success for perhaps the same reason that made "An Inconvenient Truth" sensational: its ability to make its source material accessible.

It takes a complex matter and allows us, the laymen, to peer inside, without the study of music or science that should be requisite.

It allows Jimmy Page, playing Link Wray's Rumble in presumably his own living room, to take your hand and say, "Listen here, this part right here, this is what made me love rock 'n' roll."

Page comes across as an older statesman, a man keen to dark dress coats and town cars despite the long rocker hair that remains, albeit now in a shimmery grey. He looks as comfortable nibbling the crook of his reading glasses as he does with a Les Paul in his hands. Indeed, he could easily be confused for a Harvard fellow or Oxford Don.

The Edge comes across as the most political of the three, trying the advent of U2's sound and message to the politics of Ireland and the angst of an economically suffocated Dublin.

Jack White has, without question, the most dynamic of the personal vignettes. Accompanied at almost all points by a young boy dressed in clothes that match his own — vest, bowler hat, black shirt and tie — he offers the portrait of an artist still consumed by the either the image he's created for himself or a genuine contempt for anything societal. Either way, the rage and intensity of his music and personality are palpable enough to capture the attention of any viewer. His musical credentials and reverence for the blues, regardless of what you make of the persona, come across as unassailable.

It gets loud. And it's certainly worth 97 minutes of your life. Perhaps even 194 of them.

Brian Till, one of the nation's youngest syndicated columnists, is a research fellow for the New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington. He can be contacted at till@newamerica.net. To find out more about the author and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Brian Till
Jan. `10
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Jill Lawrence
Jill LawrenceUpdated 30 Oct 2014
Froma Harrop
Froma HarropUpdated 30 Oct 2014
Jim Hightower
Jim HightowerUpdated 29 Oct 2014

3 Sep 2008 Palin-Gate, the RNC, and the Forgotten World Beyond

5 Nov 2008 Ask Us To Serve

18 Nov 2009 An Almost Beautiful Week for the Beautiful Game