Director Davis Guggenheim crafts an innovative approach to the rock documentary with It Might Get Loud. A profile, of sorts, of the electric guitar and a portrait, of sorts, of some very famous rock stars who love it, the film assembles Jack White (of the White Stripes, among others), Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin), and The Edge (of U2) to talk about their lives in music. Their marquee bandmates — Robert Plant, Bono, Meg White — are seen only in archival footage. Instead, the three men gather to form a jam session or impromptu supergroup — or something — intercut with their individual stories.
Roaming around through rock history, this is a looser, more spontaneous portrait of public figures than Guggenheim’s Inconvenient Truth, which wove Al Gore’s political travails around its carefully calibrated environmental message. While the guitar is ostensibly the film’s focal point, we also get plenty of biographical bits on the guitarists, along with live footage from their careers. U2, for example, is glimpsed sounding an awful lot like The Cure in the early eighties on their way to dominating stadiums as middle-aged men.
White, the youngest of the three, is also the most cinematic, with his hat, jacket, and old-timey instruments — while the others show baby photos in their solo sections, he totes around an actual child introduced as White at a younger age, and addressed as such by his older counterpart. It’s difficult for the earnest elders to compete with his willful eccentricity: The Edge paces about on a beach, as if waiting to summon the other members of U2 from the ocean by conch-call. Page, meanwhile, is oddly avuncular, almost twinkly as he discusses his long history in music, including time spent in a late-fifties skiffle band.
Though the studies of their different instrumental techniques prove illuminating, It Might Get Loud is most interesting when it places these musicians into pop cycles, exploring how three massively popular acts formed from different impulses. The Edge talks about how U2 came on the rock scene when young bands were tiring of the pomp and prog of seventies rock, which they perceived as vaguely condescending to music fans. White, meanwhile, became a nearly stadium-sized draw eschewing the kind of huge gestures now favored by U2. —Filmcritic.com
He was born Philip Davis Guggenheim in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles Guggenheim and Marion Guggenheim. He graduated from Brown University in 1986. He is married to American actress Elisabeth Shue.
His credits as a producer and director include Training Day, The Shield, Alias, 24, NYPD Blue, ER, Deadwood, and Party of Five and the documentaries The First Year and Teach. He directed the pilot episode of The Unit.
He directed and produced An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. His most recent feature film is Gracie.
He directed Barack Obama’s biographical film, which aired during the Democratic National Convention, and Obama’s infomercial, which was broadcast on 29 October 2008.
Davis directed and was an executive producer of the 2009 pilot for Melrose Place. His brother-in-law Andrew Shue starred on the 90’s version of the series.
He most recently completed It Might Get Loud, a documentary that glimpses… read more
Jack White is one of the great eccentrics of our age. Page and the Edge are both brilliant in their own respect. Very interesting to see the incredibly different approaches that the three of them have on their instrument, but yet simultaneously sharing a mutual, universal love of music.
The White Stripes’ Jack White, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and U2’s The Edge explore the enduring appeal of the electric guitar. With White, on the one hand, bemoaning technology as a “big destroyer… read review
It Might Get Loud seems like a half-assed attempt at a music documentary. It seems like the idea was to choose three well-known musicians, bring them together and document what happens.
The… read review
what would be better for davis guggenheim to follow a highly successful documentary that involved al gore and global warming than to create a documentary about the mystical power of guitar? while he… read review