Review: ‘Neil Young Journeys’

In "Neil Young Journeys," there's more to the picture than meets the eye -- namely the sound, whose unique digital presentation (at twice the normal sampling rate) brings the titular folk rocker's recorded riffs much closer to those in live performance.

In “Neil Young Journeys,” there’s more to the picture than meets the eye — namely the sound, whose unique digital presentation (at twice the normal sampling rate) brings the titular folk rocker’s recorded riffs much closer to those in live performance. Otherwise largely redundant, typically well made and entirely welcome, Jonathan Demme’s third concert film of Young captures the musician’s May 2011 solo gig at Toronto’s Massey Hall with less editing than before, as befits the four-month rush from production to premiere. Theatrical markets may not treasure another Young docu within five years, but DVD sales should sing.

Split between new and old tunes, not counting funny interstitial scenes of Young driving to the show from his hometown of Omemee, Ontario, “Journeys” gets so close to the sixtysomething guitar god that he actually leaves dribble on the lens, resulting in a mild dose of cinematic psychedelia. The music seems even trippier (at least in Toronto presentations), thanks to ultra-rare 96-kilohertz sound delivery overseen by the audiophilic Young’s new Ponotone outfit. No wonder the first folks introduced in the docu are wire-stringing techs on Young’s “Le Noise” tour.

Neil Young Journeys

Canada-U.S.

Production

A Shakey Pictures, Clinica Estetico production, in association with SalesForce Films. (International sales: WME, Los Angeles.) Produced by Jonathan Demme, Elliot Rabinowitz. Executive producers, Marc Benioff, Bernard Shakey. Co-producer, Shane Bissett. Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Declan Quinn; editor, Glenn Allen. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Mavericks), Sept. 12, 2011. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Neil Young, Bob Young, Ben Young.

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