Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So I finally saw Todd Haynes Dylan meta-biopic "I'm Not There" tonight and, to quote Dylan scholar Greil Marcus' review of the "Self Portrait" album, "What is this shit?" While I dig the concept of having multiple actors playing a single character, it just doesn't work here. Ok, so no one is called Bob Dylan, but they're all doing bad impersonations? And the references are either way too esoteric to be comprehensible to a non-Dylan fanatic, or just too out of context to appeal to a true Dylan aficionado . To top it all off, the badly acted fake interviews and phony album covers made it seem like a "Bob Roberts" that takes itself to seriously.

Maybe it was a metaphorical allusion to Dylan's elusiveness, the odd blending of fact and fiction, but if so it just makes out Dylan to be an illogical schizophrenic, not an extremely talented artist who (despite his aloofness and trickery with the press) was really not all that hard to "get". Haynes instead prefers to to further the myth of the enigmatic shape-shifter, but inserts too much fact & "Dylan-the-man" moments (marriage, divorce, etc.) to make this a purely fictional film. Instead, it's a mess of ideas resulting from what were probably misguided conceptions on the part of a filmmaker who obviously doesn't understand his subject.

I had high hopes for this film, and I was initially intrigued by Haynes meta-bio concept, but he blew it. I have a high threshold for pretentious, contrived art-house fare, but even I have my limits. While I have to give Haynes credit for absolutely nailing the look of "Don't Look Back" (and even Fellini's "8 1/2"), clever aesthetics alone can't carry this bloated dead manatee of project.

So, between this piece of trash & Anton Corbijn's disappointing Ian Curtis film "Control", my most awaited music biopics of the year turned out to be flops. Guess I'll be sticking to the rock documentaries from now on.


Tanner M. said...

you had me at bloated dead manatee.

don't loose hope jay, there's still The Dewey Cox story.

jay said...

I'm kinda surprised at the lack of comments on this one...surely someone else has seen this movie & completely agrees/disagrees with me?

Let the cinematic discourse commence...

Joel said...

This can't succeed in reality, that is what I think.
book holder | styrofoam recycling | Stratford real estate

Harry said...

Here, I don't actually consider it is likely to have effect.
dental hygienist | Medical Lawsuits | ford dealer