As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
The first half of Gimme Danger is spectacular then it loses its way and ends on a trite note.
Gimme Danger: Gimme Iggy
Gimme Danger is about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the unruly, undisciplined band of post-hippy rockers that, "killed the sixties" as Iggy says in one interview. There are several directorial and artistic choices made in the film that prevent "Gimme Danger" from being a spectacular film and places it in the middle of the list of good biopics, but not spectacular. In summary, I would rate the parts of the film thusly:
First half: A+ Third Quarter: B End: C-
The film doesn't address Iggy Pop's career from 1975 to 2003. What was happening during those years? What was happening is Iggy Pop was recording his successful solo album "Lust for Life" with the cult hit The Passenger on it.
Why exclude this? Did the record label refuse permission? Did Iggy or Jarmusch insist on only including Stooges music? What about Pop's other solo music and his dabbling into acting? What about his lifestyle transformation from drug addiction to clean living? No, the film buried the real story: Iggy Pop. It was a poor choice and I wonder why they did it? Why not more about Iggy? Was he trying to "Share the credits evenly?"
Why not interview some of the musicians Iggy and The Stooges influenced like Henry Rollins, Billy Joe Armstrong, among others? I would love hear what Neil Young thought of the Stooges, or Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. Why not interview the family or others around the scene. Why not quote Bowie who produced some Iggy Pop music after the Stooges? Why take out the most interesting subject of the film? That was a bad choice, and even if Iggy Pop insisted, insist harder to include more about him. Perhaps that was a condition of filming, or otherwise, Pop would have refused? If it wasn't, Jarmusch did us a disservice.
That said, they did include his early career as a drummer, the development of the band, growing up in a progressive town, Ann Arbor, and how that influenced them, their drug addiction and issues staying clean, his travels to record music from Detroit to Chicago to New York to London and finally L.A.
Iggy is far more interesting, his transformation is more interesting, than the band. Imagine a Bourne movie spending half the film talking about Nicky Parsons. She's an important character, but you would be rightfully disappointed. That's how it is with Gimme Danger. Iggy is the attraction.
Rating: Matinée, accrued score. First half: Pay full price, see it twice. Second Half: Rent it.
The first half had me laughing and intrigued, the second half of the film was a big let down.
Peace, Tex Shelters
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