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  Paradox Young Got Old
Year: 2018
Director: Daryl Hannah
Stars: Neil Young, Lucas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Corey McCormick, Anthony LoGerfo, Tato Melgar, Willie Nelson, Elliot Roberts, Dave Snowbear Toms, Charris Ford, Robert Schmoo Schmid, Tim Gouch Lougee, Dulcie Clarkson Ford, Page Hannah
Genre: Western, Science Fiction, Weirdo, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Many moons ago in the far-off future, a band of cowboys settled out in the wilderness of the West and made music together. They were led by the mysterious Man in the Black Hat (Neil Young) and though he would not say much, he had the respect of the rest of his group as they hung out not doing very much but eat, appreciate nature and look forward to the time when there would be women in their lives. Though they were big on swapping words of wisdom, and jamming a little together on their instruments in preparation for the occasions when they would get to play concerts, not that their idea of a concert was much like what we know them to be today...

Neil Young was a musician who evidently liked the idea of films, and indeed being in films, and whatever he manufactured in that vein was going to be as individual as he wanted it to be, damn convention. Even his most straightforward concert movie Rust Never Sleeps was distinguished not only by the music, but also the presence of what looked like big Jawas from Star Wars showing up on stage at various instances, and he had made weirder efforts for the silver screen than that. Paradox was not going to dispel any of the pretentious rock star accusations that would dog these productions when they were released, especially when there was more of a chance to see it.

Although it had played the odd festival, this was largely watched on Netflix, where old fans and newcomers could come together and scoff at what Young and his director, erstwhile movie star Daryl Hannah in her feature debut at the helm, had conjured up. Yet for all the criticism that Paradox was nothing more than a bunch of people with more money than sense arseing around for an hour and a quarter, there was little here that indicated those involved were under any illusions, and indeed were simply having a good time making what was, in effect, an overblown home video that happened to have not one but two famous exponents of country rock (Willie Nelson also appeared, in cowboy guise).

Naturally, and "naturally" was the operative word here, there was a serious environmental message to be gleaned from what looked like nonsense for the most part (any connection to The Cloverfield Paradox was unintentional), as both Young and Hannah were activists for the ecological movement when they were not performing in their particular ways, though there was a large element of smoking marijuana to be contended with as a method of getting close to the flora and fauna of the planet, which may not apply to your personal taste. That said, if you were a Young fan maybe there was more of a chance you would light up to enjoy the absurdities all the more, including the first concert we see in a tent where the audience of a few cowboys have to tether themselves to the ground as they float when the music begins.

Stuff such as that heavily indicated the film was having a laugh, as did the actual jokes, like where two of the band are philosophising in the two-person, sandpaper toilet roll-furnished outhouse: "Love is like a fart... if you have to force it, it's probably shit." Or the comedy insults the band throw at each other, as in "I'd give you a nasty look, but I see you already got one." If that level of wit had you rolling, in either sense of the word, then you would find much to appreciate here, and the scenery was certainly nice enough with much attention given to the wildlife, horses, deer, birds of various varieties, even insects. But what about the music, which after all was most likely motive for any fans to check this out? It was fine, presented in eccentric fashion but Young's way with a tune survived any quibbles concerning the arrangement. Bear in mind that this was hugely self-indulgent and contained a save the planet theme that was far from subtle but was in earnest, and you might enjoy yourself.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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