I so love Neil Young‘s voice and phrasings and those great ballsy rocker chords and deeply stirring chord changes that I was willing to sit through Jonathan Demme‘s Neil Young Life. Even though it’s a fairly undisciplined, loose-shoe doc made up of (a) Young singing several of his songs in a May 2011 Toronto concert at Massey Hall and (b) footage of Young cruising through northern Ontario in a 50 year-old gas guzzler.
It’s a nice way to kill time, but 20 or 25 people bailed during the first 45 minutes, and then I bailed to write this.
The most visually distinctive thing about the doc is the way Demme stays super close on Young’s face, pushing his unshaven-old-bulldog features into our consciousness. I was sitting there muttering, “Do you have to keep showing me Neil Young’s white-whiskered waddle?” The truth is that Young, now 66, looks like Orson Welles‘ Quinlan in Touch of Evil. Then again Welles was only 42 when he made that classic noir in 1957 or early ’58.