Considering that Gimme Danger was directed by Jim Jarmusch and is a chronicle of The Stooges, you’d think it would be significantly more eccentric than it is. The film is a solid rock bio documentary, but it plays strictly by the rules of such films, which is something that you can’t say for most of Jarmusch’s work or Iggy Pop in general.
Focusing primarily on the band’s formation, the creation of its three incredible and iconic albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s and reunion in the early 2000s, Gimme Danger completely skips over Iggy Pop’s solo career and what, for that matter, he and his fellow band members were doing for approximately 30 years in between.
Blending archival footage with all manner of clips, including Three Stooges movies to animated recreations of stories told by Iggy, the film lays out the band’s story in the typical fashion you’d expect in a rock doc.
There are some interesting tidbits, including Pop’s discussion of how black musicians from the 1960s influenced his work and some anecdotes involving everyone from Nico and Lou Reed to David Bowie, MC5 and the Four Tops.
The film’s best moments belong to The Stooges playing live on stage. For those unfamiliar with the band’s stage presence, it mostly involves its members standing still playing their instruments while Iggy Pop gyrates wildly around the stage, crawls across the floor or belly flops head-first into the audience, regardless of whether they are ready to catch him. Pop describes his stage antics as how baboons act when they are “ready to fight.”
Jarmusch rarely ventures into documentaries, but when he does they are typically movies about musicians. His Year of the Horse, which chronicled Neil Young on the road, was not one of the director’s better films and Gimme Danger is certainly more effective, albeit less experimental. If you’re a fan of The Stooges, you’ll certainly want to see it and, if not, you might find yourself a convert.
But the biggest surprise you might find therein – especially if you are familiar with both the director and the band – is how by-the-book it comes across, in terms of format. That being said, it’s certainly worth a look for rock ‘n’ roll aficionados and Jarmusch devotees.
Watch the Gimme Danger trailer below: