Neil Young: Journeys
An intimate homecoming documentary by the country rock legend, shot by Jonathan Demme
‘This is a town in North Ontario,’ are the first interview words uttered by Neil Young in this Jonathan Demme-directed documentary, and it’s probable that he’s consciously referencing the lyric of his own song ‘Helpless’. In the opening few minutes of the film there’s a degree of intimacy we may not be familiar with from the taciturn, Kurt Cobain-inspiring star of country rock as he drives around his home town of Omemee pointing out the river where he fished for turtles as a child and the school they named after his father.
Young’s amiable, guard-down chatter as he drives that 1956 Ford Crown Victoria all the way from Omemee to Massey Hall in Toronto establishes a sense of heart and soul, mainly in the sense that they lend new context to the career-spanning set of songs from his 2011 Le Noise tour which are blended in amongst them. Performed by just Young in a dramatic solo setting on acoustic or electric guitar, they include classics like ‘Ohio’, ‘Hey Hey My My’ and ‘I Still Believe in You’ and a couple of suitably delicate new songs, all lent a certain renewed sense of intimacy by Demme’s tight-framed shooting style.