If The White Stripes were movie characters, they’d be pretty unrealistic and as a viewer you’d have a hard job believing all their quirks and oddities. A brother and sister rock ‘n roll duo, who only dress in black, white or red, the sister speaks so quietly she needs subtitles and the brother is so obsessed with number 3, he even changed his name to ‘3 Quid’ for a whole tour . Sounds like something out of a David Lynch or Jim Jarmusch movie, but they are real people, they are a real band and they are the focus of this wonderful music documentary.
Emmett Malloy’s (renowned Music video Director for the likes of Oasis, Metallica and Will Ferrell!) movie follows The White Stripes across Canada as they kick off a tenth anniversary tour, attempting to play in every province and territory across the country. The band play a number of spontaneous gigs in bowling alleys, Inuit elder centres and even on the back of a boat, as well as the more traditional rock shows. It’s an energetic, humorous movie, but I don’t know if it will have a massive appeal outside of White Stripes fans, as live performances and the Stripes’ music take up a good 80% of the film. Saying that there are plenty of funny moments and the duo have an interesting screen presence, with Jack being the eccentric, outspoken performer of the band and Meg the quiet (ridiculously quiet!), introverted one.
I’m usually not a big fan of movies that change visual styles for no good reason and Malloy’s movie is consistently switching from black & white to colour. However, with the colour coordinated Stripes as the subject the hue changes appear to make sense. Switching from stark black & white to rich colour, saturated with red, aligns the film perfectly with The Stripes colour obsession.
There’s not really much more I can say about this movie? In essence it’s an absorbing, performance driven rock ‘n roll documentary, which seems to perfectly compliment the band’s attitude to their music. If you are a White Stripes fan or you want to become a White Stripes fan, then this movie is a must. If you are not or you don’t want to, what’s wrong with you?
Under Great White Northern Lights is getting it’s London premiere in a weeks time (Monday 8th March) at the HMV Curzon – http://www.hmvcurzon.com