Sunday, January 06, 2008

Before the Critics Know You're Dead

I hope Sidney Lumet is happy with himself. After a long and lustrous theatrical career he has capped it with the ugliest and least worthy opus of his ouvre.

I can't recall ever seeing a movie in which every single character is either either criminally evil, vicious and'or stupid. Except maybe a baby in arms in one scene near the end, but I'll guess that the author of this movie misery might follow that baby for a few years and find something ugly for it to do.

Pass, pass, pass!

I'm Not There is an ambitious project. I say project rather that movie. Todd Haynes has no film voice. He channels Fellini and Lester and the Maysles satisfactorily, but overdoes them since he has no cinematic muscle of his own. But I like his movie, mostly for its ambition, and much for its performances. The young Black boy is excellent and Cate Blanchett is a tour de force, though her screen time is too extended for what it's worth. But all the actors are good, including the ocassionally maligned Christian Bale and Richard Gere. I just have to wonder why every sequence has to suggest that Bob Dylan's life and career is just one misery after another. Surely a man with his abilities and successes must have have a few good times.

But most importantly there is one scene....a brief, wordless scene at Woody Guthrie's hospital bedside, that owes nothing to nobody except Mr. Haynes and his actors, which is one of the moast beautiful, touching and heart rending scenes I have ever experienced in a movie theater.

When it is available, I do reconmmend the DVD


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