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2 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Last Waltz, The
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Sonically pleasing but claustrophobic concert film"
3 stars

I've never liked The Band. But I do like concert films in general, and this particular number was directed by Martin Scorsese--that was enough to get me into a theatre for this revamped, limited-run rerelease of The Band's final show.

The Last Waltz features so many guest appearances--from Bob Dylan to to Neil Young to Ringo Starr to Van Morrison to (I couldn't believe it either) Neil fucking Diamond--that you suspect The Band was trying to condense Woodstock into a two-hour show. Watching these heavyweights jam on stage, though, produces some pretty exciting moments. If nothing else, The Last Waltz captures the pure joy of musicianship--you can't help but feel these guys are having fun up there, and it's infectious.

Interspersed with the concert footage are interviews with the band members, conducted by Scorsese, who squeezes some decent anecdotes out The Band. We also get some very weird moments: for no discernable reason, poet Michael McClure recites The Canterbury Tales to the audience, and counterculture hero Lawrence Ferlinghetti shows up to read a warped parody of the Lord's Prayer.

This is all well and good. But...

A concert film, above all, should communicate something of the immediacy and excitement of live performance. And here The Last Waltz, though certainly well recorded, falls short. You rarely get a sense of the ambience of the event. Very seldom do you catch a glimpse of the crowd; Scorsese keeps his camera on the musicians, thus giving us a more intimate look at the players than the live audience had. But this also gives the show an uncomfortably cramped feeling; for much of the film, The Band may well have been playing in front of an empty auditorium.

You do, however, get to see Bob Dylan jamming with Neil Diamond. And that's not something you're likely to see again.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2309&reviewer=223
originally posted: 04/14/02 00:11:06
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User Comments

4/27/15 Anne Sad record of an incredible epic era, tired and wasted looking performers 2 stars
3/09/10 Richard Brandt Unmissable portrait captures a golden moment in American music. 5 stars
9/03/09 Jeff Wilder May be the best concert film ever. 5 stars
4/29/05 Jeff Anderson The greatest concert film OF ALL TIME! Brilliantly filmed & the music is awesome & joyous!! 5 stars
4/04/05 Landshark The Band doesn't deserve this, they're lucky to have Scorsese + Rock & Roll HOFers on hand 4 stars
1/28/05 Darryl A lot of the songs are good, but the interview sequences blow. 3 stars
8/30/03 Joey Husain One Of The Gretaest Movies of all time. Some Of The greatest bands of all time. 5 stars
4/18/03 Jack Sommersby The best concert film of all time. 5 stars
1/05/02 Will Diamond Scorsese manages to turn this into one of his greatest films. The music doesn't hurt either 5 stars
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  02-Jun-1978 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005



Directed by
  Martin Scorsese

Written by

  The Band
  Ringo Starr
  Muddy Waters
  Neil Young
  Ron Wood
  Eric Clapton

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