Friday, December 11, 2009
Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth)set out to make a documentary about the electric guitar. But what he created was far more – a portrait of the artists as men.
This film focuses on three giants of Rock, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, The Edge of U2, and Jack White of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs.
The film manages to not only give us a glimpse into each artist but also manages to give us great insight on where they came from,why they began playing and how they got to be who they are.
In a combination of individual interviews and historical footage threaded through this two-day “summit,” we are given a picture of these men as musicians, as creators, and as people. They are guitarists of different generations, influences, places in their lives, and the world. But their common drive to create makes them shine on the screen and pound in your ears.
The most incredible moments happened when the guitarist started talking about how they make "their sound." Academically, it's easy to say that Zeppelin sounds different than U2 and different than The Ranconteurs, but it's harder to quantify exactly why. But then Jimmy Page starts discussing how he first discovered distortion pedals to create sustain, so a single note can go on to infinity, and you're hearing the sonic boom of Led Zeppelin. And then The Edge starts voicing an E-chord: moving the rich inner notes out and paring it down until it's the ringing, glorious tones that are U2. And when Jack White sits in a plain wooden room talking about his constant need to work against the circumstances, through warped wood and out of tune strings, searching for the rawest, realest sound possible where all the emotion is out on the surface, everything he’s done makes just a bit more sense.
The film also takes you to the rehearsal space where U2 first got together, the Home where Zepplin created and recorded Stairway to heaven and When the Levee Breaks and shows Jack white writing and recording a song onto a reel to reel.
You don't have to play guitar to love this movie. You just have to be a fan of music.
5 out of 5