The almost-seventy Iggy Pop, the star attraction of Jim Jarmusch’s worshipful documentary about the Stooges, proves just as charismatic as a raconteur seated in some ornately decorated living room as he did as a wiry, wired, blood-smeared djinni strutting across stages decades ago.
The protopunk quartet, particularly during its 1967–74 incarnation, is hailed by Jarmusch during his fleeting appearance onscreen in the film’s opening minutes as “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time.” The corny hyperbole is of a piece with the Michael Moore–ish visual elements braided in: cute animation, drearily obvious era-setting archival footage. Band members come and go (and die); Pop’s fruitful association with David Bowie in the Seventies gets discussed too cursorily.
The frontman’s reminiscences, though, are invariably eloquent, witty, and often moving. Pop is the rare rock demiurge to say of Mom and Dad, who relinquished the master bedroom of their trailer home in Michigan so that their son could wail all night on his drum kit, “I got to know my parents — that’s a real treasure.”
Barefoot and bedecked in pinstriped trousers like a bohemian Beau Brummell, Pop holds forth while enthroned in an armchair, to the left of which is a skull resting atop a pedestal. The prop may be a memento mori, but even in his senescence, Pop maintains his lust for life.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Amazon Studios and Magnolia Pictures
Opens October 28, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and IFC Center