Very interesting for Idaho fans, but could it stand alone?
This is NOT a documentary, as the longest review here suggests. Another reviewer gets it right: it's literally My Private Idaho reworked with added material that had been cut out of the original. The added footage features, primarily, River Phoenix's character, and the focus of the reworked film is on his hustler character rather than Keanu Reeve's character. Hence the title.
I call the characters by the actors' names because I can't remember their character names, and because, in the minds of many people like myself (a gay man), the two actors have become one with the roles they played. Again, hence the title.
I'm interested when films have been re-cut or reworked, so I found this fascinating. But I'm not sure anyone seeing this film without having first seen Idaho would have any clear idea of what's going on. In that context, this film feels more like a spin-off of Idaho. The sequence of events is the same, but most of Idaho's plot line has been jettisoned. We mainly see the effects of the plot on the River Phoenix character. One more time: hence the title.
So the result is, curiously, a film that has more focus than Idaho, but at the same time it's even less intelligible. I love Idaho, but let's get real: it's one messy masterpiece. Who among us (Idaho fans) has seen it only once? Idaho is one of those movies that isn't really comprehensible until you've seen the whole thing. It's the sum of its parts. So once you understand it, you want to see it again to more enjoy the parts as they add up to the sum. If that makes sense.
There seems to be more arty footage included than in Idaho. You know, shots of clouds, of skylines, or distant landscapes. But perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly. Maybe it's all in Idaho and it just isn't as noticeable as it is in this "plot-less" version. But this will give you an idea of what to expect from James Franco: Art with a capital A.
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