“This is the inquisition of Jim Osterberg.” How else would you expect a documentary about Iggy and The Stooges directed by the wild frontman’s good friend Jim Jarmusch to start? In a continued glory year of face melting music documentaries, we get a deep look at a boundary-pushing rock band that never received the love that they should have until they had already broken up. Hell, they have two albums on my top 100 of all time, Funhouse and Raw Power, and have since been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame but most of all, the emergence of The Stooges gifted us with the raw talents of the great Jim Osterberg, forever known as Iggy Pop.
Gimme Danger, a title taken from one of The Stooges songs, tells the story of this band from the very beginning. Starting with Iggy’s upbringing, long before he was dodging projectiles that he egged on at Detroit gig, he was just Jim, a boy growing up in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan who wanted to play music. He would later, in high school, form up with the Asheton brothers, Ron and Scott, and the basic group of The Stooges was formed. Years of hard partying, hard drinking and heavy drug abuse would follow but one thing was obvious. These guys could kick out some serious heavy jams and their lead singer, Iggy Pop, was unlike any other and was destined to be a star.
Jarmusch handles his subjects with a love that could only come from his closeness and friendship. Gimme Danger inspires awe at times in both music and the sheer fact that anyone could survive the craziness they put each other through. Compiled by one on one interviews with a current Iggy, Scott Asheton before his death in 2014 and Ron in archived conversations, we get a wide look at a band that is still being picked up and discovered until this very day. I can’t lie, on my way down to the theater at the Vancouver International Film Festival, I was blasting Raw Power the whole time and it’s still been in rotation with me ever since. I can’t turn it off.
I feel like a broken record, irony included, when it comes to all the great music documentaries that we have been served up this year, like a beautifully cooked fillet mignon. It feels like 2016 is the year that all the music lovers and film buffs can meet up at the cinema for a blend of things that truly make us happy right in our very soul and Jim Jarmusch delivers that with love and respect to a group that obviously means the world to him. My only hope is that the success of this film could lead to another documentary on one of his other very close friends, Tom Waits. Make it happen, Jim! 5/5