They've got axes to grind.
US. 2009. 97mins. Director Davis Guggenheim Production company Thomas Tull Productions International sales The Little Film Company (1) 818 762 6999 Producers Thomas Tull, Lesley Chilcott, Davis Guggenheim, Peter Afterman Cinematography Erich Roland, Guillermo Navarro Editor Greg Finton
When you get down to it, the electric guitar is basically a plank of wood, some strings and a chunk of circuitry. It's the person wielding it who makes the noise: that's the level-headed gist of It Might Get Loud, a rock-doc that celebrates the instrument without fretting (as it were) about the hardware.
Essentially a summit meeting between guitar-slingers of three generations - Jimmy Page, The Edge and relative newbie Jack White - this polished, lively feature from An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim will gladden the hearts of musos, shows theatrical potential and is certainly looking at a robust shelf life on DVD.
The film is built around a rendezvous in a cavernous warehouse, bringing together Page, already a legend for his studio sessions and work with The Yardbirds even before he founded Led Zeppelin; The Edge (ne David Evans) of U2; and Jack White, half of back-to-basics blues/punk duo The White Stripes and co-founder of The Raconteurs.
Not a great deal of insight emerges from their chats on the sofa, and their relaxed jams on songs by each musician yields only academic interest although the trio at last comes up trumps on an end-credits cover of The Band's The Weight.
However, the real meat is in the assemblage of material about the three stars. Divided into a number of loosely thematic sections, the film gives each of the three players a mini-biopic and captures each visiting old haunts. The least riveting presence is The Edge, an affable boffin who admits the essence of his playing is less to do with virtuoso skill than with a vast panoply of effects pedals. Page, now a sleek, white-haired fat cat, comes across as somewhat smug about his achievements, and still manages to moan about Led Zeppelin never getting their fair due from the critics (oh, really').
The real star, though, is Detroit-born White, who cobbles together a makeshift instrument from wood, wire and a Coke bottle, then squeezes some bracing racket out of it: "Who says you need to buy a guitar'" he observes.