Thursday, January 25, 2007

Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)

Wistful yet strong-willed, this concert documentary captures much of what Neil Young has given us and what keeps him going to this day. Whether you're looking at his noisier, more ragged work or his spare acoustic stuff, there's always the spark of propulsion that keeps the works moving. That's much what we get here, and that's really all that's needed. Flashier direction would overwhelm the fragility of the acoustic work, but Jonathan Demme knows well enough to observe, nothing more than that. Also, it's interesting to note the introspective tone here and how it ties in with Young's spiking interest in aging and death, this having been filmed shortly after his aneurysm surgery. His defiant strength is impressive, but it's the points when we see the cracks in the facade that leave marks; in particular, there's a bit where Young mists up while talking about his late father that damn near sent me to tears myself. I admit to zoning out a bit here and there (I prefer Young's electric work, to be honest), and some of the topical references in the new material are jarring ("I'll always remember what Chris Rock said"?); still, I think Neil puts it best when he says, "Things have changed, but the spirit's still here, and that's a beautiful thing." Amen, brother. (I have to ask, though, why get Emmylou Harris on stage just to relegate her to backing vocals for the majority of the film? Isn't that, like, a union violation or something?)

Grade: B


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home