Ieuan Jones has written a review of Gimme Danger, which is showing in our cinema on the 4th and the 8th of March. Tickets available here. Just two screenings are being held for this film, so book your tickets early to avoid missing out!
Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson was, for my money, the standout film of last year. Its quiet cheerleading on the side of humanity was a real balm for the spirits at the time we most needed it: right when a repugnant and narcissistic blowhard had been elected to the world’s highest office.
Jarmusch’s other film from last year enters at the complete other end of the volume dial. Gimme Danger is a documentary about the rock band the Stooges and was made in collaboration with Iggy Pop, their frontman and Jarmusch’s close friend. Iggy (Jim Osterburg to his accountant) is a complete one-off, the febrile and feline savage who has now somewhat unexpectedly been instituted into rock’s pantheon. Members of the Stooges have come and gone (several original members are now dead, including brothers Scott and Ron Asheton), but Iggy remains. Whether it’s at the vinegar strokes of the punk era or the dawn of Trump, he’s always been there, hair and limbs flailing, veiny and rubbery like a dildo and with that unmistakable subsonic growl belying his cuddly persona. You have to admire someone able to carry off the leading man act with such electric dynamism for nearly half a century now.
The documentary itself tells the story with more or less a straight bat – a little surprising from Jarmusch, a director usually renowned for his eccentric choices. The splicing of the Stooges’ story with stock footage from the time sometimes felt a little bit second hand (I kept wondering what the great Julien Temple, who Gimme Danger is clearly aping, would have done with the same material). It just needed a little less contract disputes and Hall of Fame speechifying and a little more napalm-grade stage antics. But the Stooges’ power is so hard to contain that when the film pops, it really does, well, Pop, and it’s great as it is to see such a frenetic band in their prime captured in such terrific footage.
The Stooges deserved to be as documented as any great band from their era and, thanks to Mr Jarmusch, they have finally found a conduit capable of capturing the fire and fury. Let’s just hope it’s not an epitaph quite yet.
Ieuan Jones is a freelance writer working and living in Plymouth.