Snarling and loud, Jim Jarmusch’s new doc about Iggy Pop and the Stooges takes a fairly brief period of time – seven years, three now-classic albums, multiple break-ups and several drug addictions – and turns it into something heartfelt. At the centre of Jarmusch’s film is the rock legend himself (born James Osterberg), still proudly shirt-challenged aged 69, and surprisingly articulate. ‘I smoked a big joint by the river and realised I wasn’t black,’ Iggy recalls, talking about a disastrous early career attempt at Chicago blues. Retreating to Detroit, he crafted something rawer.
‘Gimme Danger’ makes some missteps. The Stooges’ pummelling songs – ‘Search and Destroy’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, ‘TV Eye’ – deserve to be contextualised in terms of their importance for non-believers. Interviews with more punk icons would have helped with that. And the film has a tendency to cut away to ironic clips from Hollywood movies and ’50s-era TV, when all the necessary attitude was right there on the stage. But for the live Stooges footage alone (some of it never seen before), Jarmusch’s doc feels like an important addition to our understanding of early ’70s anarchy and fury.