Martin Scorsese directed this four-hour documentary about the singer, now 64 and, lifelong iconoclast or not, a fairly chatty participant in what's basically a glorious slab of hagiography. (And marketing: It's currently being released on DVD too, with a theatrical release to come. The CD's at Starbucks.) But Dylan deserves hagiography: One of the most significant artists of the past century, he took the American folkidiom, fused it with the poetry of the beats and—and—I should stop before I spontaneously combust with excitement.
Scorsese focuses on early Dylan, the kid planting himself at the pinnacle of the '60s folk movement and then discovering, consciously or not, that his talents place him far beyond other protest singers. Scorsese crams in great performance scenes and interviews (Joan Baez is especially articulate, and acerbic) and one goose-bump moment: a montage of Kennedy-era footage as Dylan sings 1963's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," an anthem of disaster with the power to evoke atomic war, Katrina, everything.