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USA 2005
Directed by
Martin Scorsese
208 minutes
Rated M

3.5 stars

No Direction Home

Scorsese's authorized survey of Dylan's early career, roughly from his Minnesota beginnings to his take-up of the rock band format, release of Like a Rolling Stone and the 1966 English tour covered in D.A Pennebaker's Don't Look Back will certainly please most, whether die-hard fans or not. A 60 year old Dylan talking to the camera is a major drawcard but this is also as you would expect from Scorsese, very well researched and includes never-before-seen archival footage and an impressive roster of people whose paths crossed Bob's, including Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Al Kooper, to name just a well-known few. The 112-minute Part One that ends with Dylan's performance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival is the much stronger of the two parts, the second part tending to run down, particularly in the later stages, as it does not add a lot to what went before and what is worse, makes us endure the same inane but seemingly endless media questions that Dylan himself had to. The singer himself remains characteristically uninterested in self-analysis and Scorsese's approach (who knows what qualifications Dylan set upon his cooperation)to his subject is essentially of the historical survey type. It is up to the audience to draw their own conclusions as to the why and wherefore's of Dylan's unique talent. For me, the most insightful observation in this respect comes from Bob Johnson, a record producer, who opines that whilst God may touch some people on the shoulder, it was if He had kicked Dylan up the ass: "He had the Holy Spirit about him, anyone could see that". BH

DVD Extras: Whilst both discs have a feature called Bob Dylan Performances which takes you directly to any of songs from the film, on Disc 2 Full Length Bob Dylan Performances includes eight numbers providing 32 minutes of additional music footage; Guest Performances offers four modern interpretations: "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" by Mavis Staples, "Girl of the North Country" by Liam Clancy, "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word" by Joan Baez, and "Lord, Protect My Child" by Maria Muldaur with total run time of just over 10 minutes; finally, there is a low quality 4 minute Unused 1965 Promotional Spot for "Positively 4th Street". The DVD comes with English sub-titles for the hearing impaired.

Available from: Village Roadshow




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