4 Reviews
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Life (I) (2015)
"To me the only success, the only greatness, is immortality." (James Dean)
27 September 2015
Watching Life feels as if director Anton Corbijn takes his viewers by the hand and sits with them in a circle. Instead of a fairy tale book, he uses an old, well-thumbed magazine,titled Life, from March 1955.

"Many years ago, in fact exactly 60 years ago, there were 2 young men,James and Dennis, totally different from each other but with one common goal: they wanted to become an artist, the former as an actor, the latter as a photographer."

With his amazing talent for everything visually, Corbijn leads you to the fascinating fifties. Men were smoking and drinking while working, women cleaned the houses and teenagers were desperately looking for their identity, their voice. Big cars, tailored suits, small, intimate offices, jazz,'s all there. And there's Hollywood of course, with its glitter and glamour, its matinée idols, its studio's...

Corbijn turns the pages of this magazine while he tells us the story behind the remarkable photos. He's in no hurry, he's not looking for drama or action. He shows us how these 2 young men get to know each other, how they use each other for their own purposes, how they also care for each other. James is a free spirit, a rebel who follows his own rules. Dennis is dealing with a divorce and the responsibility for a little son he barely sees while trying to become more than just a paparazzo. Their time together, in New-York and in Indianapolis, resulted in some of the most famous celebrity pics ever made.

After the publication the photographer built a successful career, the actor...died 6 months later and became a Hollywood legend.

This is Life, the film: beautiful cinematography and amazing performances. People can criticize the lack of similarities between Dane DeHaan and James Dean, or wonder if Rob Pattinson played Dennis Stock the way he was or not. It doesn't matter. Almost no one today has known Dean in real life and almost no one today has known Stock at the time. What matters is the story about the making of these famous photos. His films, together with these photos made Dean immortal (and successful in his opinion).

Casting the biggest teen idol of this century for a film about the biggest teen idol of last century but not in that role was very clever but also kind of risky. Tall and lean, with matinée-idol good looks, Rob Pattinson had to play down his magnetic screen presence so that Dane DeHaan could bring more charisma in his performance of Dean. It was a challenge but both managed to impress in their respective roles.

Sorry for mistakes as English isn't my native language.
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The Rover (2014)
"Whatever you think is over for me was over a long time ago," (Eric)
4 June 2014
Just like the mud and the dust on the characters in the film, the excellent The Rover gets under the skin and remains there, long after the screen went black.

The story takes place in the Australian outback in the near future after a collapse. A bitter loner sees his car stolen by a gang and tries to get it back at all cost with the help of the wounded, simple brother of a gang member, left behind after a disastrous robbery.

Slow and intense The Rover sucks you into the desert, you can almost feel the heat and the flies in your face. Few words are used, more is said by gunshots. Here are no action heroes who at the end clean up the mess, restore the order and peace and let you leave theater with the feeling that you were nicely entertained. The people in The Rover are desperate to such extent that they've almost become indifferent towards life. They try to survive, period.

The bizarre relationship between the angry loner Eric and the naive, dependent Rey is wonderfully brought on screen. Both Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson deliver brilliant performances. Guy embodies perfectly the bitter,rude, inner wounded Eric with his body language and the intense gaze . Robert disappears into Rey, a damaged rather innocent soul who IMO has been taught to blindly obey and not to think for himself, in a way that will blow people away. The tics and blinks belong to Rey, you see them disappear when he feels more at ease, reappear in situations of stress. The supporting actors are amazing as well.

Although the film is dark, the mood is not cold IMO. Under the surface of alienation and cruelty there's a palpable emotional layer of vulnerability and fear. Michôd created a world frighteningly realistic and raw, a world we, civilized people, in fact don't want to face. With his second movie David shows again how incredibly talented he is.

I was eagerly anticipating The Rover and it met all my expectations. The performances alone is pure enjoyment together with the beautiful landscapes and the amazing music score. Some scenes are quite funny like Rey trying to do his best to be a good partner, or when he's singing.

There's also a lot to think about after watching The Rover. What collapse can cause such situation? How far are civilized people willing to go when there's nothing left to loose? Is Rey mentally disabled or is he the product of a very unfavorable education?

And why did I think about Animal Kingdom after The Rover had finished? See the movie and you'll know.

Sorry for mistakes, English isn't my native language.
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Cosmopolis (2012)
"When he died he would not end. The world would end." (Don DeLillo)
28 May 2012
Eric Packer, genial asset manager, sitting in his limo, contemplating about himself and his visions while playing with numbers that represent an immense fortune, behaving almost in an autistic way once he tries to connect with the real world outside. Eric Packer also as the symbol of the small financial elite that rules our planet, arrogant, shameless and above all what's common and human.

What happens when you have all you want? When there's no challenge, no real desire anymore? When the last goal you want to pursue is, like a real Icarus, to fly so close to the sun that you can't but let melt the wax of your wings and fall, very deep?

This is, IMO, the essence of the story in Cosmopolis, with that difference that the protagonist in DeLillo's novel caused his downfall intentionally, while the financial disaster we live in the last few years was caused by the megalomania of the 1%.

When I first read the novel, I felt confused and a bit dumb too. DeLillo tried to send messages that I didn't understand at all. Then happened Occupy Wall Street and the pie into the face of Rupert Murdoch, so I gave the novel a second chance. I got hooked by the very complex character of Eric Packer, cold and emotionless on the outside and in his actions, but so vulnerable and lonely once you got to know him better. He's a very sad example of how far people can go in our society, just for the sake of money. I've read the book 2 times more, just to enjoy the countless, thoughtful quotes and one liners, weaved into stylistic dialogues as only DeLillo can pull off.

So, why have I written about the novel in a review about the film adaptation of this novel? Because I think that David Cronenberg did a fabulous job in trying to bring this book on screen. As a real master he has chosen to stay true to the dialogues, taking the risk that people, just like me when I first read the book, couldn't get the meanings of them.

He took from the novel what could work on screen and left scenes out, that he thought could disturb or change the mood of the movie. In the first part of the movie, he focused more on the little world of Eric into his limo rather than to shift the emphasis also outside the car. Not that I don't feel sorry some scenes didn't make it on screen (the famous street scene at the end) and for me the reality outside, in the streets of New-York, could've gotten more attention, but I can see his POV and I can live with it.

In this daring exploit Cronenberg made sure of the presence of an excellent cast, with remarkable performances of the supporting actors/actresses for the short time they appeared in the movie. The biggest challenge of course was the casting of Eric Packer, the doomed capitalist, who appears in almost every scene. Once again, David took a risk in hiring Robert Pattinson, but he was confident and he was right. Pattinson nailed this character to perfection. Especially when Eric (as his world) starts falling apart, Rob showed how able he is to bring out the psychotic, insane aspects of human being.

This is a movie that makes you think, that can give you an uncomfortable feeling and mirrors what's going on in some levels of our society. I understand that it is a difficult watch for people who haven't read the book, that they are disappointed but never was promised that this movie was going to be easy. The biggest issue IMHO isn't the movie itself but the fact that, in theatre, you haven't a button to pause and rewind so you can hear the dialogues again and again. Once the words are spoken, they're gone and I can imagine people reacting like WTH?? Though the movie stands on its own, it can only improve your experience if you go a bit prepared to the screening. With my review, I've tried to help those who're interested enough to give it a try. For those who didn't understand and by that didn't like the movie: even Cronenberg and Pattinson didn't understand the story quite well, but they went for it and created a masterpiece. There's nothing wrong with not understanding everything. It doesn't make the audience dumb, it doesn't make the movie bad and it doesn't make a brilliant performance less brilliant.

Sorry for mistakes as English isn't my first language.
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Bel Ami (2012)
Come ...and meet Georges Duroy!
21 February 2012
****this review may contain spoilers****

'Come and meet my wife'

With these words Charles Forestier opens a new world for his former friend and ex-soldier Georges Duroy. A world where a poor, working man can only dream of. A world where the high society has its own rules, where sex is power, where power leads to connections, where connections lead to the top and where the top is dominated by corruption and intrigues.

It's the world of Belle Epoque Paris at the end of the 19th century, with its carriages and boudoirs,its beautiful salons and ladies in stunning dresses.

Georges Duroy, a poor, handsome man with no special talents but with the strong ambition to become rich and important, takes the invitation of his wealthy friend and puts his first steps on the social ladder. Uncertain and awkward in the beginning, looking how to behave in this elitist company he learns fast, conquers the hearts of the wives of influential men (by sleeping with them) to break them shamelessly when a better opportunity shows up.

Bel ami, film adaptation of the famous classic novel by Guy de Maupassant, is an adult tale of the rise of Georges Duroy to the top but also of the dubious and corrupt relationships between politicians and journalists. These themes are still actual and recognizable, which makes the movie very accessible. The film makers did a big effort in creating a wonderful setting as authentic as possible. Also the costumes are a joy to watch.

The performances were very well done IMO.

Though Robert Pattinson was only 23 when he took this role he held his own against experienced actresses as Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas who brought respectively the intelligent Madeleine, the frivolous Clotilde and the devote Virginie convincingly to life. Because of his strong screen presence and the way he showed Georges' evolution from a beginning casanova to the cad he became, Rob nailed the character and showed that he can have a bright future as an actor.

Bel ami, though it has dark themes, is entertaining and has more than once funny moments apart from several steamy sex scenes. It depends of each one's perception of the movie but I can't help but being amused by Georges'conquests or is it Robert Pattinson who has succeeded to make an unlikeable character likable?

If you love period movies, it's a must see. If you don't love them, you may do after Bel ami.
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