Parents' Guide to


By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Unique mix of dreamy Western, Neil Young concert; cursing.

Movie NR 2018 73 minutes
Paradox Poster Image

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This film highlights the music, aesthetic, and activist messages that have defined Neil Young's half-century-long career. By this point, Young is probably the only performer who could pull off this odd mix of Wild West and concert without coming across as pretentious and self-indulgent. It hearkens back to a time when Young, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, The Band, and other country-rock types fancied themselves "outlaws" like the kind seen in sepia-toned "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters. It also evokes an earlier and similarly structured Neil Young movie -- 1982's The Human Highway, in which a very strung-out Dennis Hopper plays a short-order cook and Young plays a gas station attendant before an extended musical sequence in which Young plays an amazing version of "Hey Hey My My" with (believe it or not) Devo (who also play technicians in a leaky nuclear power plant).

The music throughout Paradox keeps the Wild West dreamland entertaining enough, but the climax of the live footage makes it all worthwhile. It starts slow, with Young's trademark warble bellowing lyrics that border on the kind of parody seen when Jimmy Fallon imitates Young, but once the band gets going, the viewer is reminded of the undeniable fact that more than activism and Wild West pretensions, it's his music that's enabled Young to sustain such a long career and remain relevant to subsequent generations.

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