REVIEW: Paradox

March 23, 2018

Director: Daryl Hannah

Screenplay: Daryl Hannah

Starring: Neil Young, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Willie Nelson

Runtime: 73 Minutes




Paradox is a musical film starring Neil Young being distributed on Netflix as an original feature, only it isn’t. Daryl Hannah makes her directorial debut while also writing this supposed mood poem as an ode to the west, to Young, to her activism and anything that take her fancy, but never coalesce into anything more than a rambling and intolerable collection of half-formed ideas and a mess of styles and tone-deaf approaches.


Though apparently set in the future but displaying cowboys of the west (played by Willie Nelson and his family members), it seems to show a world of men and women separated until the next full moon. It touches on offerings and tradition, but strangely ignores Native Americans and makes a mockery of a Mexican character rather quickly before he exists.


Hannah’s approach is a mess of 16mm and digital photography and never makes them work together. The whole thing looks appalling and the cutting of scenes to rambling dialogues by the cast playing up to their own personas seem like they’re supposed to be deep and cutting but just come off as nonsense. The few moments of relief are where the performers are allowed to be just that, as they inexplicably break into stage rehearsal segments.


What Paradox is really is an elaborate music video dressed up as an art film, here to push the activism of its director and writer without any thought to who it might appeal to beyond hardcore Neil Young fans. The pleasure might be found there by some, but there’s nothing here for the uninitiated and even less to savour from this mind-melting slop that looks like it was more fun for the cast dossing about in the desert than it is to watch.


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