NO DIRECTION HOME

(2005)
With Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bob Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Al Kooper, Dave Von Ronk
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Reviewed by JB

     A fascinating portrait of an artist as a young man, NO DIRECTION HOME chronicles singer Bob Dylan's journey from folksinger to civil rights anthem-writer to rock and roll icon in the Sixties.  Made with the cooperation of Dylan himself, who has never been more coherent and comfortable in talking about his life and his work.  Thanks to numerous musical clips and commentary from many Dylan contemporaries, including an often hilarious and touching Joan Baez, the film makes clear what the Dylan phenomenon was about in the Sixties, as we see  a skinny, baby-faced kid evolve into a musical chameleon who followed his own muse wherever it would take him, even if it meant leaving half his audience behind on several occasions. 

     However, even at 3 and 1/2 hours, the film ends rather abruptly with no real indication of anything Dylan did after 1966. Some mention of his subsequent fan-stumping changes and landmark albums (The Basement Tapes sessions with the Band, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks, Desire, Slow Train Coming, Time Out of Mind) would have helped put the man's Sixties' work in the larger context of an eternally restless artist, still active forty years later, and (still!) incapable of staying in one place for too long. 4½ - JB

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