Neil Young is calling his fourth film (directed under his usual pseudonym, Bernard Shakey) a “musical novel,” but it's more like a feature-length music video, with grainy images illustrating songs from his recent album of the same title and actors lip-synching to his reedy vocals. While this fosters considerable intimacy between Young and the viewer, the visual content is often numbingly literal—the lyric “the hero and the artist compare” is matched to a shot of a fireman and a guy wearing a beret. The minimal story centers on three members of a family in the rural Pacific northwest, the youngest of whom becomes an ecoterrorist; without the sound track no one would give this the time of day, but the songs showcase Young's band, Crazy Horse, in all its ragged glory. 83 min.
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