Kirven Blount
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

All hail Neil Young for looking like the old guy who never leaves his barstool but still manages to be a rock star/genius/legend. Yet while the grunge aesthetic can work in the music world, it’s not so easy to pull off in a visual medium. Essentially a collection of music videos supporting Young’s concept album of the same name, Greendale is a parable about a small fictional town (and, by extension, Earth) beset by the modern age. Because the message is trenchant and everyone’s heart is in the right place, the film is winning on a certain level. But the nonactors and community-theater production values threaten to run the whole thing aground. There is such a thing as cutting off your budget to spite your film.

EXTRAS A family tree of the Greendale world, concert footage, and a making-of doc that fuels both admiration for the project and a wish for a higher-fi approach.

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