It's hard to go wrong with Jonathan Demme behind the camera and Neil Young at the mike, but somehow Heart Of Gold
leaves you wondering if perhaps that gold is merely gilt. Filmed by Demme on the occasion of Young's Nashville unveiling of his newest work, Prairie Wind
, the film kicks off with some low-budget shaky-cam video, establishing the weathered streets of honky-tonk city and the gothic brick confines of the town's famous Ryman Auditorium.
After some rushed interviews in elevators and the backseats of cars with some of Young's co-conspirators (Emmylou Harris; his wife, Peggy; and various longtime players), Demme settles down into the conventional slickness of a well-mannered concert movie. Which is fine, unless you're a Young fan and were expecting to discover something enlightening or elating about one of the finest songwriters of the last 30 years. The new music is lovely, of course (though slightly dull), and Demme has all the right moves, but there's simply nothing revelatory here. In the end, Heart of Gold
offers Young fans only the predictable and none of the poignant.