Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

This doc on the famous Bob Dylan tour has something for fans-music, authenticity, and heart.

As far as I know, The Rolling Thunder name comes from the lightning range, the code name for American bombing campaign during the Vietnam War, and it’s Native-American for “speaking the truth.”

That’s what the “Rolling Thunder Revue” doc does best. It details about Bob Dylan’s famous music tour, and director Martin Scorsese captures the complexity of it. It is a little long and isn’t always accurate, which left me lost at times, but it hits all the right notes.

The concert segments were beautifully shot and studied with how Dylan performs with or without white makeup on, and how he is with people. Some would say: he’s a complicated guy and others would say: he’s charismatic. He has his own views of himself, not that he’s all self-congratulatory.

Speaking of which, this movie isn’t always about him. It features other people on the tour.

For instance, Allen Ginsburg (1926-1997) was a poet, song writer, and talented dancer. Dylan never saw him as a father figure, but he still found him to be spontaneous. And he had such a fascinating view of life, which he interpreted in his work. He even closes the doc with a real and personal truth about the music world, if only musicians could get their heads together.

Also on tour was singer Joan Baez, who performed on stage with Dylan, and even dressed like him with the white makeup and hat on. She admires his songs for their authenticity and heart, and she sees him as a person.

Even Sharon Stone (who was 19 at the time) and Joni Mitchell we’re respectively invited on tour by Dylan. In their own perspectives, they were touched and delighted by their experiences.

“Rolling Thunder Revue” isn’t always accurate, because the movie has a fictional filmmaker (Martin von Haselberg, husband of Bette Midler), who decided to film the concert to study the human nature of it all-the parties, the personalities, and the perspectives. Fictional or nonfictional, he has a lot of interesting aspects.

Bob Dylan struggles to reveal his life back then, due to his memories as he claims, but he manages to overcome the obstacles, and rises to the occasion. And seeing his concert segments are magical. Not all of them worked, because some are boring, but they still moved me.

This is a doc made for Bob Dylan fans, who need a lot of music and taste from him. They’ll know his reality and everyone’s reality around him.


Now playing in select theaters

Also available on Netflix

Categories: Documentary

1 reply

  1. Excellent piece. I don’t always comment but I ALWAYS read your posts. They come across as honest and thoughtful. Keep up the good work–entertaining and informative!

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