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If you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall at a Neil Young recording session, his new film “Mountaintop” may put that desire to the test. Or at least it’ll severely try the patience of any unsuspecting dates who get dragged along by Young fanatics to the movie’s one night in North American theaters Oct. 22, as they realize, possibly to their horror, that the entire film is going to consist of borderline found footage picked up by stationary cameras in a recording studio where Young and his band Crazy Horse are cutting a new album. Relationships have broken up under far less stress than the strain that “Mountaintop” will put on mixed couples, where only one partner may think hearing Young barking at his bandmates and engineers over the audibility of their monitor mixes counts as a fun night out at the movies.
It’s a small subset even of the Young faithful, then, that will enjoy “Mountaintop.” But speaking as part of that very subset — and someone who would never, ever subject a loved one to an experience quite this micro-targeted toward the mega-fan — I’d say that “Mountaintop” provides a valuable service in capturing what it’s like to be in a recording studio at length, with all the bickering and tiny experiments and small eureka moments that entails, better than any other music doc ever has. It may be useful to think of this less as a documentary, anyway, than as part of another movie tradition. Young and his group have set up at a studio built into a large home high in the Rocky Mountains, where we get only the most fleeting glimpses of the beauty outside the creative claustrophobia indoors. So you could almost place it in the same genre as “The Shining”...
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