No Direction Home: Bob Dylan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan Reviews

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½ March 30, 2018
Great documentary on an extraordinary man.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, a documentary on Bob Dylan, master-lyricist, musical genius and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Covers the period from 1961 - his first arrival in New York - to 1966, when he retired (not permanently, ultimately) after a motorcycle accident.

Great documentary on an extraordinary man. Bob Dylan is one of the most influential people In music history, and director Martin Scorsese captures well his ability and influence. He captures too Dylan's rise to the top, from playing folk music clubs in New York to being one of the most famous rock stars on the planet.
February 25, 2018
This is an outstanding documentary that covers so much ground about Dylan, about mythology and the American story, about personal witness to The Spirit in the vagaries of time... all suitably collected and presented in spiralling sequence by Scorsese.

I have much to say on this documentary and on Bob after this and hope I can create something worthwhile for my blog.

Some important and rudimentary reflections in my view so far are-

The work of The Sprit is present in his life and work, which we can see he is amply open to and has long tried to follow- the commentator in the documentary made the comment that he wasn't trying to be an accomplished person; which is in the small and more egortistical sense. Yet, by following the Spirit 'on the way home' Bob is more of a person, not less. This is the story of The Gospel and deomnstrated eloquently by Eastern Orthodox Theologians such as Lampert, Lossky and Berdyaev.
Other commensurate key themes include his unwillingness to be subsumed by politics or ideology, which is in line with the Biblical notion of Prophet- even if he never saw himself in that light.
This supposedly politically naive artist wrote some of the most enduring 'political' songs of the twentieth century by rooting them in the Spirit, not of the times, but of all time. This is juxtaposed in his work and personal life with a conversational narrative of the neighbour- again personalist and never or seldom ideological- see how he wrote about specific black American persons who were mistreated.
Mavis Staple's interview was very telling, when she reflected how, as a young woman, she had thought that 'what would he know of struggle? White people don't know what it's like to suffer' before humbly and rightfully admitting that this was naivety and wrong. His story was the story of The Gospel, which presents us with persons throughout time suffering and in search of salvation fighting against a greater evil than racism- something he lived himself in his own way and shared with his kin through empathy and bearing witness to the Christian Truth of the suffering God of love, regardless of skin colour, in America or elsewhere. Notably, he took great inspiration in the Irish rebel songs, which are borne of intense suffering over many generations.

Today, we suffer from crushing ideologies that would accuse Dylan of cultural appropriation and this points to the strangling of The Spirit, because as we can see in his life and work the music is transcendent of crude, crushing monisms- taking inspiration from the Irish, black Americans, poets and folks from all over the states and The Holy Scriptures; making them his own and 'knowing his song well before he started singing', a state of mind which calls to mind the name that we will be given in The Book of Revelation. Moreover, we are called upon in this life to be part of the Transfiguring of the world in Christ though our word and work- Dylan did this and it had to be personal. It always has to be personal. This is where the language of 'authenticity' is not mere self indulgence but manifesting something real. It is also a way of Peace that The Good Lord has provided us with to make manifest the kingdom, speaking Pentecostally in a way that is ours but that can be truly heard by others.

People say that America has no history and would be happy not to acknowledge the living breath of Spirit that flows through people like Dylan, who it may be rightly said, as one commentator suggested, plays the role of the American collective unconscious as well as a Biblical conscience that stood in protest at the mistreatment of the maligned without swinging the pendulum to worldly solutions.
He's a guy with an appreciation for roots but a sojourner in the land- this Christian in the world but not of the world, allows him to avoid idolattry. See for example his song 'With God on our side'. The satire in the song demonstrates this beautifully.
''The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side''

What was Dylan's response to the dreadful nihilism of Sartre and the idea that there is no exit?
''there's no exit in any direction
'Cept the one that you can't see with your eyes.'' (Series Of Dreams)


There's also a great humour in how he sees himself, as presented here by Joan Baez, and it's wonderfully comical to see how he reflected on how people would see his songs; suggesting that they'd see this and that in it, when he himself 'didn't know where they came from'.

His witness is an humility to The Spirit, which cannot be grasped and which the Orthodox call a Mystery.
December 9, 2016
"I was born a hundred miles from home and been trying to get back there ever since"
February 11, 2016
Not only a superb documentary about one of the greatest humans God breathed into being, but a harrowing journey through the madness and absurdities of fame.
December 1, 2015
Very down to earth, a documentary that doesn't dwell on the genius approach and sets its goal on creating a portrait of an artist connected with his peers and times.
½ July 12, 2015
Grande retrato de Bob Dylan por Scorsese. Alternando gravações antigas com entrevistas contemporâneas, o filme mostra como Dylan fez-se um dos grandes ícones dos anos 60 nos EUA.
June 8, 2014
Top notch footage highlights an interesting look at 60s folk music and protest culture and Dylan's influences from an earlier era.
May 15, 2014
part 1 was great, but I prefer part 2
July 7, 2013
Excellent docu-film. Very intricate, and informative. Plus...Bob Dylan!
½ May 2, 2013
Very insightful documentary of America's most fascinating artist. A broader and more explanatory take on Dylan than Pennebaker's (highly recommended) Don't look back.
March 16, 2013
Sügav ja liigutav portree ühest keerukaimast enigmast muusikas...
February 9, 2013
Fantastic. Not only essential for any fan, but for anyone interested in how society changed during the early 1960's. A protrait of its time as much as its topic, and stronger for it.
January 6, 2013
Great documentary about my greatest hero!
December 25, 2012
Great documentary. Scorsese does a great job giving us a glimpse at early Dylan and Bob is just Bob, giving us a glimpse into his dreams of escaping his small Minnesota home town.
December 19, 2012
Very Long and but if you are a die hard Dylan fan this is a great movie
December 7, 2012
Could be worth a viewing, would like to see it sometime in the future.
Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2012
What I liked about this is that it shows the cluelessness of the press who interviews Dylan as a phenomenon not an entertainer--"do you think you should be the leader of the rebels of your generation" "would you suck on your sunglasses for a photo" etc. The questions they asked him at the press conferences were so ridiculous, I definitely felt his pain as he tried to be polite while at the same time wanting to tell them to bugger off. I am a Dylan fan without being a Dylan worshiper. This is the first time I saw him interviewed or perform except for a lackadaisical show in Boston a number of years ago where I thought he probably had the flu--everyone else did. Anyway, I was surprised at his physical beauty. Surprised at his artistry. Surprised at the ordinariness of Joan Baez who was gifted with angelic pipes but given the curse of wanting to sing for a cause which negates the whole entertainment thing which Bob Dylan was after and for which I admire him. I admire his foray into rock and other genres and experiences. As he says, "if you're not busy being born,you're busy dying."
October 5, 2012
An animated Bob Dylan talks about politics, his music and an ongoing search for home. Very interesting retrospective of his life.
September 8, 2012
Captures Dylan and is an amazing documentary. Very personal without being too reverent. Of course the music is (no word to describe the greatness.). It is very long and it doesn't go far enough into present day. Waiting for part three.
July 30, 2012
A brilliiant well-crafted documentary on the man himself and assuredly deals with all the material like any genuine person would if they had been handed it with trust. The Joan Baez interviews are fascinating and Bob himself is fairly contemplative and reflective, and this accentuates a great deal of authenticity to the film. A must for Dylanologists or would-be Dylanologists (as I was and still am).
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