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13 March 2010

Under the Great Northern LIghts

directed by Emmett Malloy

The White Stripes. A Canadian Tour. Sporadic popup shows in each town they play. You don’t need much more than that, and Emmett Malloy doesn’t try, instead simply chronicling the duo’s journey across the continent above our heads. For the most part, that is. Sure, there are a few artistic flourishes here and there, but Malloy, just as the White Stripes, seeks to make much with very little. The White Stripes have long been notorious for the constrictions they heap upon themselves, constrictions that not only seem to work, but constrictions that, as Jack says in the doc, only serve to make them better artists. When you have the whole palette and all the time in the world, the fun and intensity fades. When you are The White Stripes, a band who have utterly dominated the local and global musical scene for the past decade, you let the music speak for itself. And when you’re Malloy, all you really need to capture the Detroit muscle badassness of The White Stripes is a camera. Malloy’s doc is an interesting glimpse into an interesting world of a truly interesting band seemingly in their essence of raw, spontaneous exuberance. And be sure to check the priceless face Jack makes when he pats the cough out of that old lady.
Note: I would have to fine myself for dereliction of duty if I failed to mention another Malloy classic, Out Cold, that he directed with brother, Brenden. Check out my review for it.

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