The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights


Documentary / Music

IMDb Rating 8.0


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7/10/2018 1:07:05 PM

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93 min
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93 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by elizabeth_d333 10

I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of &quot;The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights&quot; last night at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it was a fantastic event. The guests of honour included Jack White, Meg White, and Director Emmett Malloy, who watched the film alongside their fans (which made it hard to concentrate on the film, I might add). <br/><br/>Malloy&#39;s beautiful film takes the audience on a journey with the White Stripes as they complete their 2007 Canadian-wide music tour that included at least one stop in every province and territory in Canada. The film pays special attention to Jack and Meg&#39;s famous free side-shows that occurred in a wide variety of fantastic settings, from a city bus in Winnipeg to the Arva Flour Mill outside London. Audiences are treated to intimate back-stage interviews with the band, comedic interactions between Jack, Meg, and their fans, and never-before-seen coverage of some of the most action-packed, breathlessly amazing concerts ever to come to Canada.<br/><br/>Malloy seems to have had a knack of always being there with a camera at the exact right second, as scene after scene reveals the most beautiful, emotional, exciting, and downright bad-ass moments of the White Stripes ever caught on film. Fans will have a new-found appreciation for the White Stripes, as the passion and enthusiasm that Jack and Meg convey throughout the film are impossible to miss.<br/><br/>While this is an excellent choice for fans of the band, especially for those who were lucky enough to attend one of their concerts or shows, the film may be poorly received by others who do not have a full appreciation for Jack and Meg. But if you ARE a fan, get ready for the most electrifying, moving film of your life- you won&#39;t regret it.<br/><br/>III

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Reviewed by BestMovieEvar 10

Im a big white stripes fan and sat through this entire film with a huge smile on my face! It was simply an amazing experience, the moments captured in this documentary are priceless along with the the many unusual and interesting setting and venues that they played! Powerful live versions of the songs, great moments with Jack and Meg that make you love them both even more! I could hardly sit still during this film, due to the many fantastic songs being played in versions that make them even better than the recorded ones. The camera work, the editing, the use of black and white and other filters, all made this an absolute joy to watch. Jack &amp; Meg, you are such cool cats! =) I walked away from this film feeling inspired and uplifted!

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Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 10

In 2007, to support their new album Icky Thump and to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Jack and Meg White took to Canada to tour. Under the Great Northern Lights is superb because it doesn&#39;t take the usual approach that documentaries following a band on-the-road do. But then again the White Stripes aren&#39;t the &#39;usual&#39; rock band. It&#39;s just a guitarist/piano player and a drummer, maybe a guy playing bagpipes occasionally, and there&#39;s patterns in the songs with the number 3 and colors black and red. One of the members (Jack) does the majority of the talking (Meg even needs subtitles at points to be understood on camera, a point Jack makes fun of at one point on camera), and their &#39;tour&#39; is both the traditional concert-venue variety and a more spontaneous form of performing on buses, in bowling alleys, in parks, just anywhere. I&#39;m surprised they didn&#39;t perform in a bathroom. <br/><br/>It&#39;s an amazing concert movie for reasons of unpredictability, but also for the interesting places they go to along the way (they meet up with a tribe of Indians and play some of their music), and just the personalities of the White Stripes on screen. They have a strange appeal; they&#39;re not totally hard rocking like grunge, but they&#39;re not as &#39;soft&#39; as an emo band. They employ hard rock, and folk, and punk, and some music that is just unidentifiable except as White Stripes songs (you&#39;ll know them when you hear them, one of them is arguably the title track of Icky Thump). The collection of songs is fantastic to see played live, with some turns unexpected with an innocence to them (they perform &quot;Wheels on the Bus Go Round &amp; Round&quot;!), and it&#39;s all off the cuff; according to Jack they don&#39;t have a set list and it flows much more naturally from that approach. <br/><br/>And, on top of the content being so strong and inviting, the way the film is shot and how the director stages the White Stripes is engaging. It&#39;s black and white film for 85% of the time (other 15% is color, but only for some performances on stage), and it&#39;s like getting an old-time portrait of musicians on the road or something. It&#39;s strange to pinpoint, but it&#39;s such a strange way to make a concert movie anyway. It has the conventional structure, but the way its shot and edited is captivating. I didn&#39;t want it to end really. I was curious about their music before, and liked some songs especially. Under the Great Northern Lights has made me a fan.

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