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4.2 out of 5 stars
CSNY Deja Vu [2008] [DVD]
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 November 2008
Rock documentaries always take the risk of becoming sad Spinal Tap-esque unintentional spoofs.Revealing bloated egos and character traits of your musical heroes that determine that you would actually cross the street to avoid this odious excuse for a human being. They can also be so sycophantic and grovelling that you want to throw up!
Thankfully 'Deja Vu' is a million light years from the either rockumentary. Instead, revealing Neil Young as THE main man and driving force of the quartet, surrounded by three equally committed friends who,tired of waiting for new young protest performers to rise from the streets,gave up waiting and took the anti war message on the road themselves.
It's very moving seeing CSN&Y as aging hippies who have crossed the great divide,from the sixties Vietnam years to the new century and still be as committed as ever to peace.
Time hasn't been so kind to David Crosby and Stephen Stills who have both ballooned out to Michelin Man proportions. However, Neil and Graham look healthy enough for sixty somethings and despite Father Time's cruel redrawing of the former pair's waistlines and features,as musicians they can still do the business.
Their tour across the States which ventured into Christian redneck heartlands of Republicanism was both bold and revealing. It revealed that in that central swathe of America known as 'Godland' there really is an undercurrent of vicious bigotry,ignorance and racism. Despite this,many of these rednecks were lifelong CSN&Y fans. Most of whom stayed the course until 'Let's impeach the president' was performed. Naturally the liberals in the audience loved it !
If my appreciation of the music of Neil Young was strong before,my appreciation of him as a human being is off the Richter scale after watching this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a difficult film to judge: very good in parts, poor in others. Let's start with the obvious: the CSNY music is not as good as on their five-star albums 'Crosby Stills and Nash' and 'Deja Vu'. How could it be? So, with respect to other reviewers, I don't believe it can be marked as five-star outstanding - not for the music, at least.

Judging it as a film: it is a product with a message. A powerful one. It is a film of a concert tour interspersed with songs taken from the various performances. The message of the tour is fervently anti-war, and that arouses mixed emotions in the audiences. Some people find the anti-war message unpatriotic. Others find it essential and compelling. The reactions are shown in this film and, to be fair, CSNY don't mind the mixed reception: people are entitled to their opinions and they are expressing theirs through their music. As a film with a message, it works as the group intended, and in that respect it's a very good offer.

At the beginning of the tour it is clear that CSNY are rusty. Things improve as they go on. There are snatches of their former brilliance but some of the shows, as shown, were very much below the standards of their early years.

The film itself is probably a tad overlong for the message it conveys. There are only so many ways that you can say 'we are against war and our audiences may, or may not, agree'.

What struck me, sadly, is how Stephen Stills has aged. He is a shadow of his former self music-wise. Crosby has come through his difficult journey into, and out of addiction, remarkably well. Graham Nash remains on top form and Neil Young - the driving force behind this project - is, well, Neil Young. His status these days is iconic.

In the extras are the videos that CSNY created for the tour: unfortunately (for me) the music is mixed with more of the message, and I found that unsatisfactory: I would have liked to hear the music by itself.

Outstanding? No. With the best will in the world, not a five star outing, no matter how much one may sympathise with the message. Worth a watch? Oh yes: very much so. These are four of the world's best musicians and they have something to say as well as music to perform.

As an overall package, I would say three stars. People who mark it lower than that are missing the underlying quality of the musicians and the music, and the reasons why the film was made in the first place.

If you're a CSNY fan of old, you'll probably enjoy it. If you are coming to them cold, this is not the starting point I would recommend. Listen to the early recordings first.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 November 2008
Like the other reviewers here I watched this on BBC Four and it was certainly an interesting documentary. In some ways one time confirmed Reaganite Neil Young went up in my estimation, although he is still comes across at the age of 63 as confused, self centred, and contradictory as a teenager - no doubt one of the reasons he has stayed musically relevant over the years.Unfortunately, the two most politically aware members of CSNY, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, don't really get much credit. At the beginning of the doc CSNY are introduced as legendary anti-war performers, which I confess, as someone who saw them live in 1974, I found rather confusing, because it was in fact CS&N who were overtly anti-war.For those who doubt this and think I'm doing Neil Young down I'd just say take a look at the song credits at the end of the movie.With the exception of Ohio all the politically aware songs are written by Stills,Nash, and to a lesser extent,Crosby.However, despite getting on the bus a little (40 years) late Young certainly put his heart and soul into the anti-war cause and without him this tour would never have happened.

As for the performances, as far as I could tell original studio perfomances from CS&N and Deja Vu are used on several occasions. The live stuff isn't bad and seems to improve as the tour goes on.Personally, I enjoyed most of the Living With War material.However, as a huge Stephen Stills fan I have to say I was saddened by his physical condition, especially the part where he struggles to regain his feet after tripping over a monitor, and also saddened that he seemed to contribute so little musically.What the hell has happened to his voice? He talks as if his tongue is swollen or his throat restricted.

Anyway, I'd defintely recommend this film as a musical document, a snapshot of how America was dealing with war and as proof that CSNY can still be relevant despite their age.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2009
If you know, respect and support Neil Young's views and preoccupations, and enjoy his music, then I recommend this DVD. It is an outstanding production, mixing interviews, live performance, rehearsals and news items in an intelligent, emotional and creative piece of work from one of rock music's greats. While there is some repetition of material from Young's Living With War DVD, there is an abundance of new material, making this a second, and probably last, phase of his anti-war project.

This is not a showcase for the reunion of four old rockers, delightful though it is to hear CSNY together again, still performing brilliantly. Buy this if you believe artists should use their work to highlight their political positions, if you enjoy intelligent and passionate music, and if you want to be moved and inspired.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2008
This documentary follows CSNY round the U.S on their 'Freedom of speech tour'.Neil young had recently written an album of protest songs called'Living with war'.War correspondent Mike Cerre films the reactions of the audiences and provides his own footage of Iraq.
The title 'Deja vu' says it all,Vietnam/Iraq they're the same.
The interviews with Iraq vets,families of dead servicemen,all linked in with CSNY's protest songs young and old, provide riveting viewing.
CSNY are an inspiration.LOVE AND PEACE!
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on 21 August 2013
Well, you can't fault CSNY's commitment to peace and their desire to live out (some) of their deeply-held hippie beliefs.

This is a revealing documentary but, as others have noted, it is a political animal more than a musical one. If you generally thought that Bush was an OK president (and I did) then this will be a clichéd and rather annoying experience for you.

Personally, I don't think these songs were much cop either. In the past, I really enjoyed CSNY's music without buying into the philosophy behind them. That's not really possible with these tunes. 'Let's impeach the President for lying' does exactly what it says on the tin - and little else.

In many ways, this is Neil Young doing what he does best: confounding expectations and winding people up. He enjoys this sort of thing (remember the Tonight's the Night tour?)! But seeing as he is someone who confounds expectations, wouldn't it actually have been more shocking for him to go the whole hog and release some pro-Bush material!?

I would conclude that it's good to see the guys back together doing something more interesting than a money-spinning greatest hits tour.

PS. Bigotry and hatred can be found anywhere, Bible-belt or otherwise. That doesn't mean Christians or the Bible are like that. It just means that some people who live there are like that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2011
It feels good to see again CSNY, a little grizzled, but still the same personalities, but above all it is a very strong musical material that Neil Young is with him. It's nice to see him even at the age of 63 can perform as well as in the 70s. He is holy pissed off at the wars that the U.S. operates and the songs are strong and he is eloquent and speaks plainly
A 'must-have DVD "
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2010
This film is absolutely engrossing. It is highly entertaining, very moving and sometimes extraordinary - and always captivating. Although I am a fan of the band and the music, which is what led me to it originally, I'd suggest the film stands up in its own right as an important documentary and being a CSNY fan is not a pre-requisite for viewing it.
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on 30 November 2014
This is a worthwhile, balanced and honest documentary but the flaw in staying with it for me was that Neil Young's new anti-war songs are, at times, simply awful - trite, sing along, anti-bush diatribes lacking subtlety, metaphor and imagination. Though a big fan of Neil Young I do recognise that at times he indulges himself, over imagining his own abilities and anyone who has endured the 20 minute Crazy Horse guitar solos live may concur with me. It seems the other members of CSNY go along with Young on his mission presumably because he's the only member who has actually had a full, meaningful career outside of CSNY and so has some sort of seniority among them but sadly, Neil apart they don't have much to contribute. As a film looking at the relationship between music celebrity and political protest it's successful and so it's worth a watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
This is one of the best music/political DVD's ever. Combines great music with a political standpoint and makes you want to think about not only the lies that have been told in the past but also why one person can awake people to thinking about life/politics in general
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