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Review: Electric guitar documentary 'Loud' lacks energy

| Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009

Rated PG for mild thematic elements, brief language and smoking; 2 stars

If only director Davis Guggenheim had cut a deal with the devil at the crossroads, then his slavish but oddly stilted documentary/concert pic paying tribute to the electric guitar might have acquired some unholy, unruly energy.

As is ... eh. U2's The Edge (honestly, I never quite got over that name) sits on a Los Angeles soundstage trading anecdotes with Led Zeppelin's silver-maned Jimmy Page and dork god Jack White of The White Stripes. The three exchange generalities about creativity and pushing the boundaries and "stretching the limits," and jam a bit.

Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth") spends plenty of time with these disparate stylists individually, in segments designed to pay tribute to each man's training ground and inspirations. The archival footage outshines the new stuff, although Page, a grand old session man, has a way with an on-the-fly story like the one about backing Shirley Bassey on "Goldfinger" ("She did one take and just collapsed at the end of it").

Why isn't the film better• Guggenheim doesn't seem to have prodded his subjects in any interesting directions. Partly, too, bringing these three generations together for a soundstage "summit" feels hoked-up in the extreme. Guitar heroes, real and imaginary, will no doubt get something (maybe a lot) out of "It Might Get Loud." But surely this tradition of electrified and electrifying blues-based rock deserves a hotter stove.

• Regent Square

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