Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese ★★★★

Scorsese's best film* and a great rock & roll document of a unique moment in a great artist's life, demythologizing the bemusedly self-mythologizing Bob Dylan with skill and wit while presenting a litany of juicy, fevered performances that make the case for him as a giant of live music in a way difficult to reconcile with his surreal, resigned modern performances. The reason Scorsese is able to get away with so many comic inventions here is that so many of the people revolving around Dylan in this footage (Allen Ginsberg, journalist Larry Sloman, the positively arresting Patti Smith) already seem like larger-than-life cartoon concoctions. Virtually every song we get to hear in full is magnificent, but the highlight may be, of all things, Dylan and Joni Mitchell and Roger McGuinn busking semi-privately on "Coyote." It's possible to sink completely into this without even realizing there are so many deceptions at its center; it's intoxicating regardless.

* An intentionally provocative statement, by the way, as I have not seen Mean Streets or The King of Comedy or quite a few others. But I prefer this to Raging Bull and Taxi Driver and Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street by many, many miles.

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