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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A dark, but lovely movie. Looks and feels like a Caravaggio painting.

Author: Danielle Panabaker from United States
27 September 2010

I.M. Caravaggio is drenched in symbolism for true art scholars, yet still manages to present basic facts for newer Caravaggio fans. A thrilling art-house masterpiece mixing the Italian Artist's most infamous traits: controversial works of art, chiaroscuro lighting, huge commissions and elite clientèle painted right next to prostitutes and street people - all set in modern Las Vegas with amazing music throughout.

First time Filmmaker Derek Stonebarger's non-linear biopic storytelling leads to an astounding plot sprinkled with abuse, deceit and greed, while newcomer Ryan Eicher is brilliant as the modern day Caravaggio. Even as the darkness fills the screen, you leave the film feeling rays of light from above and an awareness that the spirit of Caravaggio, whether good or bad, might be living inside of us all. Positively a must-see movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I.M. Caravaggio (2011) Movie Review

Author: Creepy-Suzie from United States
30 April 2011

Director Derek Stonebarger's first feature length film, I.M. Caravaggio was a sexually-charged pulsing skewer into the life of a genius, entwined with the seedy underbelly of the Las Vegas streets. Almost like a drug induced spiral, Ian Milano's tormented life sprang uncontrolled with the onset of fame and acclaim, spurning violence, mayhem, and death in his wake. This was a story of an art prodigy with a history of sexual and mental abuse, a demented sense of self worth, and a cynicism that aged the character beyond his years. Milano's innate ability to express a stark reality of one's soul through his intentionally subversive works resulted in something beyond controversy. This character mirrored the real life of the artist Caravaggio, and since he was actively learning of the artist it is ambiguous as to if this was fully intentional, by chance, or a combination of both.

The film starts running… literally. Ian Milano is no stereotypical starving artist. In fact he has to lose six pounds to make weight for his college wrestling match, and running through the dirty, urine stained North Las Vegas streets impacts him with sights and experiences that define his art. Ian Milano is not the stereotypical jock either though, and even endorphins can't cheer up this angst ridden sociopath. Actually there doesn't seem to be a character in the film that you could say is typical or two dimensional. Care was taken to develop even the smallest roles without bogging down the plot which cranked forward with the pace of an uncontrollable locomotive. I was enthralled and I was moved. A broken jagged pool cue becomes a makeshift spear during an erotic rage of shame, and the last remaining threads of sanity or decency are lost as Milano strikes out repeatedly like a wounded animal.

The scene faded to black and the credits rolled and I just sat there. The director and cast took open questions and I just sat there. The seats cleared around me and still I sat. What did I just see? I know I cried, but why? Why did this film impact me to this extent? I had to ruminate on it. I continued to do so all night despite the light hearted festivities around me. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to ask the cast and crew attending the screening some of my burning questions.

The most noticeably interesting part of the movie was the coloration. I've never seen a film designed in such a way. The colors were bold, but not like a 70's throwback at all. This was different. It was subtly grainy, but not like a Grindhouse film. It was barely noticeable and minute. The film's Director of Photography, Victor Tapia, told me the desired outcome was that the entire film would have the look of a Caravaggio painting, and this was achieved with intense lighting during the shoot and by heightening the level of contrast and adjusting color during editing. Stonebarger used a professional Panasonic digital studio camera during the filming of I.M. Caravaggio. His directing style is easily comparable to Aronofsky.

Colin Huse, I.M. Carravaggio's Audio Director added that the encompassing, penetrating, robust sound swirling through my ears during Stonebarger's amazing visuals had the intent to be bold, much like that coloration, and to completely fill the space wherever the film would be shown.

The acting skills of Ryan Eicher were extraordinary. He was the complete personification of the mood, style, and elegant malice that was I.M. Caravaggio. I was surprised to find the genuinely cheerful Ryan Eicher to be, well, "normal" upon speaking with him. He was the polar opposite of the Ian Milano character, and was only 19 years old when his performance was shot. Although he stated his ultimate goal is to direct, I would go so far as to suggest that film in general would suffer a loss similar to the day that Vincent Gallo uttered "I stopped painting in 1990 at the peak of my success just to deny people my beautiful paintings; and I did it out of spite." were Eicher to not continue with his acting endeavor. This young man has a long career ahead of him. Kudos to director Derek Stonebarger for pulling this exceptional performance from his lead actor and the rest of the I.M. Caravaggio cast, and kudos to him for being the auteur and soul of my new favorite film.

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