As intriuged as I was with the idea of this film, the trio of guitar players cast together looked a little odd.... at least on paper anyways. One is a classic rock legend, the other is a very individualistic (and highly influential) sonic craftsmen and the last is a white kid from Detroit heavily influenced by black blues and the archaic recording techniques of yesteryear. On one hand, it makes sense to represent the very different approaches that all 3 have become synonymous with, but on the other hand it feels slightly unfair to team up two blues influenced guys with another player whose style relies on his manipulating and processing of sound to come up with what is essentially a 'less is more' approach. That contrast may have just been what the director was seeking, but it didn't stop me feeling sorry for The Edge when Jack and Jimmy are playing dirty slide on Zep's 'In My Time Of Dying' while The Edge stands there looking a bit lost. But then, Jimmy Page probably feels the same way when Jack and Edge are trying to get him to sing a harmony part in 'The Weight' and he protests that he "Cant sing, sorry!". Jack White, while not being directly humbled on camera, must nevertheless be aware of the immense legacies that the other two guitar players have left behind them while he is still very much carving a name for himself. He comes across well though - cocky and self-assured without being arrogant. His preference for the bare-bone expressionism of what rock n roll has been, and should still be, was clearly very heartfelt and honest. There are lots of great moments to behold in this film, even if it does feel ready to finish about 20 minutes before it actually does. Jimmy Page going giddy with excitement whilst listening to Link Wray's 'Rumble' in his front room or the looks on Jack and Edge's faces when he launches into the seminal 'Whole Lotta Love' riff are just two great moments. In truth, Jimmy Page steals the show - he's just such a strong personality when compared to the politely spoken Edge or eager to impress White. Also, seeing as both Page and White are coming at the guitar from the same kind of school of black roots music, perhaps instead of having White fly the flag for the contemporary guitar player, someone like Thurston Moore would've been a more daring and interesting choice? It's a tough call.
Highly recommended for fans of rock music and the electric guitar.