Archive for December 12th, 2007

December 12, 2007

>Prepare yourself for an unbelievable acid trip

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I’m Not There (2007) – Todd Haynes newest film is more complex than what I thought it could be. I remember very well many pre-release reports that claimed the film was nothing but a Bob Dylan biopic where the famous folk singer is portrayed by six different actors, including a woman (Cate Blanchett) and an african-american child (Marcus Carl Franklin). The movie trailer and advertising seemed bizarre enough, but if you’ve had the same feeling, God, you haven’t seen anything! The final result is actually more bizarre than I could have ever imagined. This is not a biopic at all, not even a non-traditional one, as some people would like to say so. The six different stories take part in very isolated atmospheres, one so independent to another that it’s almost like if the entire movie consisted of six short films, that somehow connect themselves in one single and obvious subject – The countless layers of Dylan’s personality, in particular, many phases of his personal life and career.

Despite the very efficient editing, the film is nonetheless caothic, and I believe that’s how it was meant to be, as Haynes’ concept is so abstract that makes it impossible to hide its idiosyncrasy. This is not a film to be easily followed by those who don’t possess a single Dylan album at home and are not aware of the most known happenings in his life and musical career. Haynes is a great admirer of the singer himself, and here he plays of “Guess what this is about” in many frames. I assume that the film will be more transparent for those who have a deep knowledge on Dylan’s biography and musical work. For the ones who are as clueless as I am on this topic, I’d advice you to enjoy this acid trip without making any further questions. Focus on the ensemble cast, the chameleonic cinematography and of course, the soundtrack.

All Dylans are captivating on screen, but it’s particularly impossible to take our eyes away from Cate Blanchett’s messy hair, dark shades, black skinny suit and unseparable smoke. There’s a moment in the film that I could actually forget Jude Quinn was being played by a woman, I saw a male character and I believed him. A slightely feminine/childlike/innocent male, but still, a male. The sequences where Blanchett acts along with Michelle Williams are few, but memorable. Not only because of the great australian actress’s presence, but for Michelle, who walks around in shift dresses, black opaque tights and incredible heels, in a clear Haynes version of Edie Sedgwick, a much more critical and negative one though. Phisically transformed in many aspects, she deserved more recognition for her short, but yet, remarkable performance. For the rest, the great quality this film possesses is the fact it is refreshing, after all, the last thing contemporary cinema needs is another biopic in the modes of Ray or Walk the Line. As a movie critic wrote, “If you’re so tired of the old, then here is the new. Embrace it, or please shut up”. I don’t know exactly what to think.

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P.S.: If you haven’t seen Hairspray yet, and all you want is a couple of hours of fun and light entertainment, here’s the movie for you. This is the sort of film that puts a smile on people’s faces. By the time I left the theater, I even felt like dancing! And even in some parts of the film as well. The newcomer Nikki Blonsky is adorable as Tracy, a teenage girl who isn’t afraid of pursuing her dreams despite of what people would say. Among the veterans’ cast, I loved John Travolta as Tracy’s mom, he gives one of his best and most charismatic performances in a long long time. Watch the trailer here.
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