Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'm Not There.

Todd Haynes' I'm Not There attempts to examine the life of Bob Dylan by telling a story in which six actors in separate vignettes play different aspects of his personality. Please excuse this clumsy description of these exceedingly vague characters: Ben Whishaw narrates the proceedings. Christian Bale portrays Dylan in his public life. Heath Ledger as a post music career actor living in Hollywood. Cate Blanchett during his famous 1965 tour of Britain. Marcus Carl Franklin as a nine year old, African-American hobo embodying the spirit of Woody Guthrie. And Richard Gere as an ambiguous Billy the Kid outlaw death figure of the west. The movie is interesting as a curio, and will probably be more to your liking the more you know about the legendary folk singer (I don't know too much). I'm not sure if any of the performances come off exceedingly well (even Blanchett's hailed one) or if the film gets any closer to the enigmatic songwriter's core. Also, Haynes is a competent filmmaker, but he uses this film as an opportunity to delve into show-offy gimmicks, and nods to Fellini, Godard, Hal Ashby, and others begin to grow wearisome.