It’s been a great year for Jim Jarmusch, the most hip film director of independent cinema. In addition to his new film Paterson, which is getting some of the best notices he’s had in years, he’s also released an excellent documentary on the Stooges, Gimme Danger.
This is not Jarmusch’s first rockumentary, having previously made a concert movie with Neil Young. And in his narrative films, he’s always had a fondness for hiring musicians as actors. For example, Coffee and Cigarettes features the likes of Tom Waits, RZA and GZA from the Wu Tang Clan, and the White Stripes. Indeed, Stooges frontman Iggy Pop appeared in that film, too, in addition to starring in Jarmusch’s Dead Man, a surreal Western he made in the Nineties.
Gimme Danger starts with Jarmusch declaring the Stooges the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time. Curiously, the film then immediately proceeds to describe how the band broke up, after they became tired of their lack of success. The rest of the film explains how they transcended early failure to become the ultimate proto-punk band.