Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Neil Young: Heart of Gold

This was recorded in 2005, right after Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and right before he had surgery for it. The movie culls together the best moments from two shows Young played in Nashville at the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. I dug this movie. I wish I had heard the album Prairie Wind before seeing the movie because I think I would have liked the movie more if I had. Most of the film consists of Young playing the entire album. Still, he does do a few of his more familiar songs as well. All of the songs fit quite nicely into a mellow, melancholic mood. And I loved seeing the musical broom in action.

Overall, this is a really good concert film. Demme is amazing at the art form. Between Stop Making Sense, Storefront Hitchock, and this one, he has proven his talent. I wish he would make a concert film every year. They are so good. After being bombarded for years with seeing live performances with endless cutting and tight closeups where you can't really get a feel for the performance, this movie feels so damn fine. Demme lets the whole thing breathe, lets Young take center stage, do his thing, and god damn, if it doesn't feel good. The performers are allowed to tell the story, rather than the manufactured "craziness" of frenetic camerawork. Not to say that Demme's craft is invisible because it isn't. But it feels organic and natural, not forced. It is part of the whole performance, not an extra forced component.

The colors are fall warm, all oranges and yellows with a soft glow. In gentle tone and color, this film reminded me a lot of A Prairie Home Companion. For Young diehards, this film is indispensible. For Young novices, there is still plenty to like here. For film lovers in general, this film is damn worthwhile.

Directed by Jonathan Demme

1 comment:

mas said...

I just watched this off the DVR and it really looks terrific in HD.