Friday, January 1, 2010

The Man on the Wire Might Get Loud

In the last week or so I've watched two pretty good documentaries" Man on Wire and It Might Get Loud.

Man on Wire is about Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center towers in 1974. I was struck by several things: of course seeing the two towers long before their demise and was reminded of my own visit to the top of one of them (I can't recall which one) in the late 70s. What affected me most was how single-minded Petit was in reaching this absurd goal that somehow he pulled off.

Personally I've never liked re-enactments but the way they handled it in this movie was better than most. Kind of mysterious.

I was amazed at the amount of archival material they could pull together of old film, newspapers etc. to help tell the story. Very watchable.

Last night I watched It Might Get Loud - again a different sort of doc about three guitarists - Jimmy Page, Edge from U2 and Jack White.

Again I was amazed at the archival stuff - more about Jimmy Page than anybody else but overall his story was more interesting to me. He's aged much better than Robert Plant and still seems to have the guitar chops. I'm no fan of Jack White's typical rock style but I have to admit he is one very talented and versatile young man. The interviews delve into his interest and influence by early blues-men.

The concept overall is clever. But I doubt if the average person could have pulled it off. The producer of "Loud", Davis Guggenheim, also did Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" so I imagine having produced an Academy Award winner, people take or return your phone calls.

I like U2 but not sure I'd put Edge in the same league as Jimmy Page and while I've noted Jack White is supremely talented, I don't think he's near the guitarist Page is/was. But White has many years to carve out his own legacy. I guess the idea was to get the icon/mentor/elder statesman, one currently famous musician and the still up-and coming (lots of young people will say that he is already here) rock star and put them together and see what happens.

Easily watchable and worth the time. The opening credits are classy.

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