Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Neil Young: Heart of Gold

2006 Sundance Film Festival
★ ★ ★
Being at the world premiere of Neil Young: Heart of Gold was almost like attending one of the concerts in the movie. The audience clapped and cheered riotously after every song, paying homage to Young, who was in attendance with his family and members of his band.

This is a concert movie with music pure and unadorned. Director Jonathan Demme dispenses with most of the behind the scenes background so common to the genre and gets right to the music, recorded at a series of concerts in Nashville in August 2005. Young is joined on stage by some veteran musicians and old friends, as well as his wife Pegi and Emmylou Harris, as they play song after song after song, interrupted only by Neil’s warm and friendly introductions on stage. There is plenty of terrific new material as well as favorites going back to Harvest days. And all in Young’s distinctive twang, but now with the wisdom and maturity of years.

Demme is one of the most talented directors working today, and has perhaps the broadest range of anyone. Consider these: Melvin and Howard, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs and now this, not to mention his first movie, the destined-to-become-a-classic, Caged Heat. (OK, I’m kidding about the last one.)

There is a sentimental aspect to the film as well, as Young had been diagnosed with a brain aneurism and was going to surgery within days of the concert. All in all, Heart of Gold really is a wonderful experience for all Neil Young fans.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

absolutly moving......Neil does it again.....

6:17 AM  
Blogger Jay Forsythe said...

Neil rules! That's all you need to know. Make sure you watch through the credits to see him play "The Old Laughing Lady" on Hank Williams' old guitar to an empty Ryman Auditorium. If that doesn't move you, check your pulse. You might be dead. Did I mention Neil fuckin' rules!

8:46 AM  

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