No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

Rated 5.0

OK, it is fair to ask whether we really need another treatise on Bob Dylan and to answer that if it comes from Martin Scorsese, then yes we do. No Direction Home, on DVD and on PBS Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m., is a win-win proposition: This is the documentary Dylan deserves, and it’s the perfect vessel for Scorsese’s talent and temperament. The title is of course a line from Dylan’s famous epistle of vindictive macho fury, and is there an American director alive who better understands vindictive macho fury? Actually, the picture owes its strength to Scorsese’s finely honed intuition about how music works on us, compounded by his singular identification with the musician himself. No Direction Home enjoys a rare, frank rapport with its subject, plus the authority of many character witnesses, like Allen Ginsberg, choking up at the recollection of his first exposure to Dylan’s music, or Joan Baez, succinctly reminding us that the man is “unique, admirable and a pain in the ass.” It’s a major Dylanological event.