Review: Iggy and the Stooges come alive in vivid doc
The story of Iggy and the Stooges needed to be told, and Jim Jarmusch’s “Gimme Danger” does so with thunderous aplomb so it can stand as a testament for future generations.
The Detroit rockers may not have been “the greatest rock and roll band ever,” as the movie declares in its thesis statement, but Jarmusch treats the group as such, which is what you want from a celebration of a band. That kind of reverence escaped the Stooges when the group was together and didn’t come until decades later. By the time the band was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, the world had finally come around to the influence of its raucous, gutter thrash sound.
Interviews with the magnificent, colorful Iggy Pop anchor the film, and he’s a sharp storyteller. He explains his manic stage behavior is a mix of Clarabell the Clown and an attention-starved child, and his brevity and simplicity were copped from the wisdom of Soupy Sales.
By highlighting Iggy’s early, pre-Stooges days with the Iguanas — the story of him playing atop a 16-foot drum riser is key to understanding him and his vision — “Gimme Danger” makes the case that Iggy was always going to be a star. In the Asheton Brothers and against the tense political backdrop of the ’60s, the Stooges found a lane, and from there it was a peanut butter-smearing, stage diving ride to the bottom, and eventually to the top.
Animated passages help compensate for the lack of archival footage of the group, which is sparse. But you don’t need to see old clips to understand the group. “Gimme Danger” lets the Stooges live and breathe forever.
Rated R for drug content and language
Running time: 108 minutes