Loud Quiet Loud Review
November 09, 2006
I've been watching "Loud Quiet Loud," the new documentary about the Pixies 2004 reunion tour. I recommend it for all fans, but for the uninitiated, this isn't the place to start. It's way too subtle and specific in its intentions. There's very little background info, because at the beginning it was meant to be a piece of cinema verite, a pure snapshot of the tour. Later the filmmakers added in interviews. The movie is so intimate that by the end I had stopped thinking of the bandmembers as rock stars. I was thinking of them as real people who just happened to be very talented. The filmmakers say in the commentary portion that Frank Black didn't trust them at the beginning, but at some point, he let them into his inner sanctum and even got so comfortable that he often wore underwear around them. The film also shows Black in his underwear, and though it's not a pleasant sight, it really illustrates how much access the filmmakers had gotten.
Since the bandmembers didn't spend a lot of time together backstage, there isn't gobs and gobs of revelatory footage, although there's enough. The movie is less about the actual band than it is about the proliferation of the mundane and banal on tour.
In the commentary the filmmakers don't try to hide the fact that instead of seeing the Pixies on their reunion tour, they decided to make a film and get real backstage passes. So, from the beginning, these guys didn't know what they were getting themselves into and the film had no direction. This is why the film is so subtle. The filmmakers had no pre-planned stories to follow from the beginning. Luckily for them, David's substance abuse, Charles' burgeoning family life, Joey's soundtrack recording, and Kim's struggle to stay on the wagon yielded enough footage so that there were obvious threads by the end of shooting.
The live footage they use is a cop-out. I coulda seen that on a live Pixies DVD, but apparently, the filmmakers didn't have enough good footage by the end.
All in all, the film is a half-interesting look into how four amazingly talented musicians manage to connect so well onstage and so horribly off of it.