Jim JarmuschUSA108 minutes2016ColourEnglish
Jim Jarmusch recounts the hard-rocking history of Iggy Pop and The Stooges, who burst out of Michigan in the late ’60s with a savage and endlessly influential fusion of rock, blues, R&B, and free jazz.
Some performers flirt with danger. Iggy Pop embraces it with abandon. Forming his band The Stooges in the late 1960s, he gained a reputation for performing half naked, stage diving, and confronting audiences with songs like "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "No Fun," "Search and Destroy," and "Raw Power." The Stooges' 1973 song "Gimme Danger" lends its name to this film that traces the band's destructive tendencies and improbable survival.
Director Jim Jarmusch comes to the material as a true fan. He pays close attention to the The Stooges' origins in Ann Arbor, where James Osterberg (a.k.a. Iggy) teamed with the Asheton brothers, guitarist Ron and drummer Scott. Joined by other rotating members over the years, they cut their teeth in Detroit's rock scene alongside the MC5 and got signed to their first major label by Danny Fields. But Iggy had a flair for self-sabotage, which eventually brought about a long split with his bandmates starting in 1974. His 1977 solo comeback album, produced by David Bowie, was titled The Idiot.
In new interviews, Iggy is candid, funny, and poignant in reflecting on the crooked path of his career. His perspective is rounded out by older commentary from Ron and Scott Asheton (who died in 2009 and 2014, respectively) and other insiders. Their story comes full circle with The Stooges' latter-day reformation in 2003.
Jarmusch taps a rich archive, portraying Iggy through the years at his passionate best and drug-addled worst.
Iggy's reputation for intensity hasn't lessened. When he played at the Royal Albert Hall this spring at age 69, The Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick wrote: "I have been going to gigs for a very long time and that was one of the best I've ever seen."