Jonathan Demme's new concert film on legendary musician Neil Young will really delight his longtime fans and could draw in new ones as the filmmaking resonates on an intimate level.
Neil Young: Heart of Gold captures two performances of his "Prairie Wind" tour last August just days before surgery from a brain aneurysm.
There is a strong feeling for family as a bulkier Young plays with great inspiration alongside the likes of Emmylou Harris in Nashville. His new songs brew with confidence at a time during suffering, but he provides a genial atmosphere as his daughter provides some of the discourse he emphasizes.
The days of Buffalo Springfield and his collaborative force with David Crosby and Stephen Stills are still strongly felt, as fans nearing retirement age will feel brought back to a forgotten era.
Demme, known for his high-profile projects like Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs, knows his way around this type of film that suits a consummate performer like Young. Those remembering his stellar work with David Byrne in chronicling his group "Talking Heads" in 1984's Stop Making Sense can attest to igniting a band's performance on stage.
Here, the way the director shrewdly details a performance offers a kind of lyrical representation that isn't often felt visually, doing more than celebrating a release of a new CD with close-up, panning, and still shots. For those who don't idolize Young, one can feel the artistry that he produces with an old instrument, that, like Demme, always seems to hit the right chords.