Gimme Danger Dir. Jim Jarmusch

[Magnolia Pictures; 2016]

Styles: documentary, rock doc
Others: Year of the Horse, End of the Century

Iggy Pop’s flirty eyes say it all. Those glances he flashes to an off-screen Jim Jarmusch, who is only seen and heard once, suggest a struggle to contain his trademark hyperactivity while seated. They accompany Jarmusch’s declaration of Detroit punkfathers the Stooges as “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time,” followed by a quick appearance in sunglasses and unmistakable white pomp. This must be the chumminess I hear so much bellyaching about from critics. It’s true Gimme Danger is a friendly meeting between frequent collaborators Jarmusch and Iggy (it feels weird calling him “Pop,” unless I find out he’s actually my deadbeat dad after all), along with other Stooges (the Ashetons; Mike Watt) and close allies (Danny Fields, the Philip Seymour Hoffman of punk docs), but that’s to be expected from Jarmusch. His films have long been chummy hangouts to a deadpan, laidback rhythm. No talking head is included that wasn’t directly involved in the timeline, stripping the story down to the essentials, much like one of Fun House’s killer tracks. Though the Stooges’ crunchy wail seems better suited for a more explosive filmmaker, that Jarmusch even took the lead at all deserves merit. When one considers the Stooges’ lasting impact beyond the fractured years sporadically spent together over four decades, a high-and-tight cut won’t do. It deserves to flow as long as the boys’ locks. It’s less “Search and Destroy” and more “Dirt.” I’m tempted to use “We Will Fall,” but that would imply that Gimme Danger forgoes conventional structure. It doesn’t, but that doesn’t work against the doc’s overall effect. It’s proof that Jarmusch can put his lax impulses aside for a spell, and like his favorite band, he can take what he knows will work and make it his own. It’s what the Ghosthaired Killah’s been doing his entire career, only now it’s ready for a big audience. Judging by the monstrous crowds the Stooges played to in the last decade, it’s clear The Stooges are for everyone. Gimme Danger is for everyone.

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