It Might Get Loud

2009

It Might Get Loud

Critics Consensus

An affectionate tribute to rock's most distinctive instrument, It Might Get Loud is insightful and musically satisfying.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 114

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,227
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Movie Info

Rarely can a film penetrate the glamorous surface of rock legends. It Might Get Loud tells the personal stories, in their own words, of three generations of electric guitar virtuosos--The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (The White Stripes). It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style of playing favorite instruments, guitars both found and invented. Concentrating on the artist's musical rebellion, traveling with him to influential locations, provoking rare discussion as to how and why he writes and plays, this film lets you witness intimate moments and hear new music from each artist. The movie revolves around a day when Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge first met and sat down together to share their stories, teach and play.

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News & Interviews for It Might Get Loud

Critic Reviews for It Might Get Loud

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (91) | Rotten (23)

  • The film might have benefited from a trim and a more linear approach, but mostly it fulfils its role as an illuminating homage to both the protagonists involved and, above all, the guitar as popular music's most timeless icon.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • For guitar freaks and fans of these guys, the film gives you a unique chance to hang out with some real guitar heroes.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A bizarre follow-up to the fifth biggest cinema documentary of all time, and one that's as testing on the patience as a 10-minute guitar solo with extra tremolo.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • The film gets up close and personal, proving that each is a musician first and a rock 'n' roll star afterwards.

    Jan 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • For once a film's tagline strikes the right note. ''It might not affect the way you play guitar, but it will change how you listen.''

    Oct 29, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • By delving into their backgrounds and character quirks, Guggenheim aims the film beyond the interests of purists, academics, fans and musicians to provide an adventure film exploring the heart of creativity.

    Oct 28, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for It Might Get Loud

  • May 19, 2016
    It doesn't get loud, but it does get interesting. Shame they couldn't get Clapton too.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2013
    I would say that Jimmy Page and Jack White will tell you that things will indeed get loud, but The Edge isn't nearly as exciting of a "lead" guitarist, and plus, this film isn't quite as exciting as you might expect. No, this documentary is pretty entertaining on the whole, but really, I find it kind of funny that this film celebrates the skill of Jack White, - some bum who wastes his potential on a bunch of noisy technical experiments, broken up by the occasional decent riff - The Edge - a groundbreaker in the art of tricking people into thinking that you're a good guitarist - and Jimmy Page, one of the great rock guitarists of all time. Don't get me wrong, while Davis Guggenheim is known for making questionable decisions as a documentarian, - such as the idea of making a pro-Obama re-election short film (Well, Dave, sounds like you yourself to learn about an "inconvenient truth" or two) - I get this line-up just fine, as the filmmakers wanted to study upon the diversity of guitar styles and wanted to get three different types of guitarists: an Irishman who isn't good, an American who you can barely tell is mildly good and an Englishman who is good. Besides, it's not like Page had anything better to do, because Robert Plant is off singing with somebody somewhere out there, John Bonham is in the same place that he's been for the past few decades, and, well, no one really cares that much about John Paul Jones. I'm kidding, I'm sure Jones is perfectly proficient, it's just that Led Zeppelin boasted one of the great rock vocalists, one of the great rock guitarists, one of the great rock drummers and, last and decidedly least, some bass player you couldn't hear through all of the loud vocals, guitar work and drums until he hopped onto the mellotron to simulate violins that the band was too lazy to get. Huh, now that I think about it, maybe this film should have gotten Roy Harper so that he and Page can shut up about "jugula" and answer a better question: "Whatever happened to John Paul Jones?" Well, people, sadly, this film neither answers that question nor explains that reference (You're on the internet, so look it up, you bums), but rest assured that it is still a reasonably informative and decent documentary, in spite of its fair share of flaws that go beyond questionable choices for guitarists to compare Jimmy Page to. The documentary is a layered one that meditates thoroughly upon varying aspects that are relevant to the three hosts, even in light ways, so it's a bit difficult to fully describe the focal structure of the film, and it doesn't help that not even the film is able to keep up with itself, taking on studies upon the lives and careers of our hosts, the artistry of rock music, the technicality of guitar, the varying and consistent aspects to the process of learning to be a guitarist, and several other aspects that ultimately appear to be more than this film can chew, as the final product jars back and forth between its worthy, but jumbled up layers. The film is a bit too overblown, or at least ambitious, for its own good, juggling a wealth of aspects that the storytelling can't keep in a fully organic order, thus resulting in focal unevenness, when there is, in fact, focus, that is. As much as this film can't afford to slow down, considering that it only has just under 100 minutes to cover a whole lot more material than you might think, there come points in which storytelling slows down to bloat itself on excess material and aimless filler than leave focus to meander, before devolving into repetition, then finally aimlessness. When the film drags its feet, it gets to be kind of difficult to tell where exactly things are heading, with the aforementioned focal unevenness doing an organic and clear flow in storytelling no favors, so when you step back, the film's biggest issues are of a focus nature, as the final product really isn't as stable as it should be as a layered documentary, and that would be easier to forgive if this film didn't have an atmosphere that goes along with the structural limpness nicely. It's interesting how this film's title directly cautions you that things "might get loud", but when you get down to the final product, when it quiets down a bit, as it often does, while it doesn't ever become completely cold, momentum slows to an atmospherically dry crawl, with only so much liveliness and color to direct your attention away from the fact that, much too often, you're doing not much more than observing pure filler in the midst of storytelling that is focally confused already. The bland spells could be more abundant, but they are present, leaving you to meditate upon the other storytelling issues, of which, there are more than there should be, as there is plenty of potential within this documentary, and a fair bit of its goes achieved, yet in too many places, the documentary loses its grip on things, including your investment, which never slips completely away, yet drifts too much for the final product to stand as truly rewarding. Nevertheless, the film is still so well-done in plenty of ways that it's hard not to appreciate it, maybe not to where it compels all that much, but certainly to where it's easy to enjoy this relatively high-profile rockumentary, partially because the film has the production value to catch your eye in a way certain other documentary's don't. Certainly, Erich Roland's and frequent Guillermo del Toro and Robert Rodriguez collaborator Guillermo Navarro's cinematography is by no means all-out stunning, but it is more handsome than you'd probably expect from a documentary film, having a very handsomely theatrical lighting that colors up realism with cinematic dazzle, while clever framing gives you a tight feel for the environment and immerses you into the rooms occupied by the film's three hosts, who further engage, not necessarily on a visual level (That Jack White fella's decent looking, but oh boy, The Edge and Jimmy Page nowadays are in no way complimentary to the film's visual appeal), but on a musical level. Sure, the intensely noisy and intentionally frantic tastes that Jack White typically celebrates is unappealing, like it is when it goes embraced by plenty other contemporary rockers, while U2's efforts prove to be hit-or-miss, and Led Zeppelin's efforts prove to be, well, come on, by Led Zeppelin... and, by extension, also kind of hit-or-miss (Yeah, they're one of the greatest bands ever, but they still got carried away sometimes), so this film's musical aspects aren't consistently gripping, but more often than not, whether this film is touching upon the classics that inspired our hosts, or showcasing highlights by the hosts themselves, the documentary offers a generally entertaining soundtrack that effectively breaks up the slow spells with compliments to entertainment value. Visually and musically, the film has enough appeal to color things up and keep you from drifting too far out of the final product, but all the good cinematography and music are is polish, and seeing through that polish is no trouble if you're trying to obscure substance shortcomings, thus this film tries to keep substance alive, as well it should, considering its subject matter. Like I said, this documentary is very layered in its focus, so much so that it has trouble juggling all of its layers and gets to be kind of uneven, but it's easy to understand why this film is so eager to bite off more than it can chew, as there is a lot to the tales of our three hosting guitarists, and the film tackles about as much as it can, whether it be anything from the technical aspects of instruments to rock roots, or anything from our hosts' individual styles to the hosts' life stories, thus making for an albeit overambitious, but uniquely structured documentary that offers a wealth of potential. On paper, the film has a lot to say, and when it comes to the delivery of such material, director Davis Guggenheim, or at least on the whole, because, like I said, pacing and focus gets to be an issue in storytelling, yet not to where it becomes difficult to see what is done right in Guggenheim's direction, whose plays with Greg Finton's editing and other compliments to the documentary's structure stylishly immerses you into the film that is, of course, most carried by its hosts. Yeah, I joke about how Jimmy Page is a guitar god among a potential squanderer and some Irishman who didn't really have all that much potential to begin with, but Page, Jack White and David "The Edge" Evans all have a certain distinguished artistic integrity that gives you an understanding of their depths as both musicians and people, thus creating a kind of charming intimacy with the hosts that is sometimes colored up when chemistry falls between the hosts during their interactions, and often gives you an appreciation for the hosts as the tellers of a layered tale who earn your investment time and again, no matter how much it goes shaken by hiccups in other forms of storytelling. Like I said, what is strong about the documentary is strong enough for the final product to border on generally rewarding, and while such overall goodness goes diluted by shortcomings, the film keeps you going more often than not as a generally entertaining and interesting, if flawed rockumentary. When it's time to unplug the amp, an overambitious documentary's sloppy juggling of a wealth of material layers results in focal unevenness, while moments of repetitious dragging, sometimes exacerbated by atmospheric dull spots, result in an aimlessness that further thins out the final product's kick, leaving underwhelmingness to ensue, but still go challenged enough by handsome cinematography, lively music and intriguing subject matter - often brought to life by stylishly immersive areas in Davis Guggenheim's direction, and consistently carried about as much as it can be by its trio of charismatic and reasonably respectably distinguished hosts - for "It Might Get Loud" to stand a messy, but generally enjoyable study on the electric guitar and its place in rock. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2013
    This really had the potential to be something quite special. Unfortunately is come up short, and I was left with a feeling that something was missing. I'll go ahead and admit though that my rating is inflated by an extra half-star, if only for the fact that the musicians here (especially 2 out of the 3) have had a major impact on me personally. What we get is a celebration of the electric guitar by just three players, all of whom, have proven seminal practitioners from their individual generations. I understand that it would be hard to choose three people for this sort of thing, but I'm mostly okay with the selections of Jack White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page. I think it would have been cool had they included someone such as Tom Morello, though, as his story and impact are just as important. Maybe they should have done what they did with The Other F Word, and have the primary focus be on one person, but with heavy amounts of input from several others. Instead we get a look at how the backgrounds, influences, and experiences of each man affect their crafts and creative processes, all of which culminate in a meeting of the three where they jam and chill with one another. Oddly enough, it's the meeting of the three where the film is at its weakest. None feel all that ease with one another, things are pretty awkward, and there's a missed opportunity to really ask some probing and revealing questions. At times it is neat, but ultimately its very underwhelming. The individual moments with each of them are all pretty good though, and I loved the various techniques used to bring their stories to life, especially the animated stuff. All in all, this is passable, but unfortunately not what it should have been.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2012
    This had the potential of being a great documentary. Unfortunately the film lacks something to really make it a great film on the subject. I mean you have Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin The Edge of U2 in one film; you're bound to get something great between the two. You'll notice I didn't mention Jack White because I really feel he doesn't stand out compared to first two guitar players. White's work doesn't really stand out in the rock genre. I don't he's a legend or a good player for that matter. I think another veteran of rock music should have taken Jack White's place instead because I feel he really doesn't stand out among the other legends in the genre. As a whole the documentary is interesting but I feel it lacks what it says it has the history of the guitar from the point of view of the artists. This film instead focuses on the influence of each guitar player, though interesting, they could given a more in depth look at who helped shaped the electric guitar. In the end, this film is just an excuse for the guitarists to tell us how important music is in their lives. Considering that there's some talent here, it would have been interesting to hear about the guitar from their point of view, however they just get into a little bit of it, and I felt that they could have put a lot more effort in the film by having the musicians give us more detail on the guitar. A good film, but it lacks in some areas and I think it's a slight shame considering the talent that talk on the subject.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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