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  • Gareth Crook

Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I don’t really like Bob Dylan and I find Martin Scorsese quite annoying. Scorsese though undeniably makes great films and Dylan did write some decent songs... early on. The footage is shambolic, intended as a behind the scenes looking at the Rolling Thunder Review shows in ‘75 & ‘76 and that’s what you get, long sections of concert performance, coupled with random clips of the tour. Dylan comes off as aloof amidst a disaffected and broken America. The idea to bring the traveling circus across the country and rejuvenate it. It didn’t rejuvenate me though, in fact I nearly dozed off, mainly in the on stage sections, Dylan really doesn’t do it for me. There’s interest off stage though in the hippy folk chaos. Scorsese not known for thrift running times has allowed this to bloat to nearly 2 and a half hours, where he could easily of cut an hour. Just because the footage is shot, doesn’t mean it has to go in. There’s interesting bits from Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and someone called Scarlet Rivera (great name) who I’d never heard of before, plus Allen Ginsberg is knocking around doing his shamanic poet thing. Although Dylan leaves me a bit cold, I can see the appeal, especially now when artists just copy and phone it in, people like Dylan are highlighted as the real thing, living it, feeling it and conveying something important on stage. This hasn’t converted me though, aside a handful of songs, I’m still not a fan.



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