Feel Like Going Home is one of seven documentaries produced by Martin Scorsese on the subject of blues music. This particular episode was also directed by the auteur and focuses primarily on the roots of the genre. Narrated in part by Scorsese himself, it follows musician Corey Harris as he interviews fellow musicians and goes in search of the blues birthplace, travelling through the Mississippi Delta and eventually to West Africa from where the music was first snatched away in chains aboard slave ships.
Neither a hard hitting exposé nor critically acclaimed undercover investigation, Scorsese’s film is a sort of coffee table documentary, delighting its audience with some great stories and incredible music. It fails to go deep or uncover anything new but might help to bring the blues to a whole new audience.
The first thing that struck me about this film was its look. Scorsese has a reputation as one of the greatest film makers of his or any age and we are used to his highly polished latter work as well as his grittier, earthier beginnings but this film is unlike anything I’ve seen from Scorsese before. It feels cheap and basic, like one man and a camera, and not a great camera at that. A lot of the footage is grainy and dark and it doesn’t appear to be particularly well made in several places. Even the editing is a little slapdash. Although I tried to put this to one side, I could never quite get over it. I understand that the budget must have been low but I’d expected something a little flashier or at least more polished from Martin Scorsese.