A snapshot in time-the film chronicles the story behind the 1955 LIFE magazine photo thread by Dennis Stock of then-rising star, James Dean, and gives us an inside look at some of Hollywood's most iconic images and into the life of a gifted, but troubled man.
The film's release is to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of James Dean's death. See more »
Pay Phones in 1955 did not have metal cords or the receivers shown in the film. See more »
I don't wanna play their stupid game.
You don't have to. I mean, just let me help you. I got 30 million people reading LIFE Magazine... and we do, we do a great shoot...
Wait a minute, wait a minute! You think you're giving me something that's not alerady comin' my way? I lose myself in my roles! I don't wanna lose myself in all this other stuff. And you are this other stuff.
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Potentially this could have been the most interesting work from Anton Corbijn, as he is himself a well-known portrait photographer. The story is about Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Pattison) convincing a reluctant upcoming James Dean (DeHaan) to follow him to make a series of portraits. As you might know, Magnum set new standards in photography and Stock in his famous series contributed to a completely different view on portrait photography of stars: natural setting, confrontational, honest and direct.
During the movie, a bond grows between the two, as Dean turns out to be an atypical Hollywood star ignoring the rules set out by his superiors resulting in several confrontations. Stock largely ignores his duties to his former wife and their child and becomes obsessed by Dean's idiosyncrasy. The second part is the most interesting as it almost deconstructs Dean's life and character: Dean comes from a farmland family of Quakers, likes local poets and is fond of his background and actually despises stardom. Stock is first able to shoot pictures in New York (you probably know the famous photograph) and in Indiana.
So what are the downsides: the pacing is too slow, the editing certainly not perfect and the most important trap: Corbijn as photographer is too much in love with the story, finding details relevant that are actually not that relevant. The question keeps popping up: Why does this matter? Life fails in a way as a mood piece, but is still a relatively good and stable character drama as the deconstruction works well.
Maybe both Pattison and DeHaan are too light to pull this off more convincing, but one role is certainly amazing: Ben Kingsley as Jack Warner is so spot-on you will be remembering the character despite the limited screen time.
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