In 1787, British ship Bounty leaves Portsmouth to bring a cargo of bread-fruit from Tahiti but the savage on-board conditions imposed by Captain Bligh trigger a mutiny led by officer Fletcher Christian.
With exclusive access to his extraordinary unseen and unheard personal archive including hundreds of hours of audio recorded over the course of his life, this is the definitive Marlon Brando cinema documentary. Charting his exceptional career as an actor and his extraordinary life away from the stage and screen with Brando himself as your guide, the film will fully explore the complexities of the man by telling the story uniquely from Marlon's perspective, entirely in his own voice. No talking heads, no interviewees, just Brando on Brando and life.
Brando is open about his dislike for most of the actors from the 1930s and 1940s. He clearly dismisses Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart as being the same in every film. However, Brando did respect actors Paul Muni and James Cagney for their naturalistic approach. See more »
Marlon Brando, Himself:
Let the tension flow out of you. Let if flow out of your mind. Five. Four. Going down in an airplane. Softly coming in. One. Zero. You hear the Tahitians singing. Far distant laughter. And it's just after the sun has gone down. The star comes. First star of the evening. Peace and love.
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A fascinating look into the life of Marlon Brando, made all the more compelling and unique through its use of Brando's own private audio and rare video recordings. If you're put off early on because it seems to be jumping around and/or it's hard to hear, stick with it. Aside from seeing many examples of Brando's absolutely brilliant acting, we see a complete view of his life, with all of its triumphs and difficulties.
Brando had problems with relationships, children, poor part selections, and was often a pain in the behind to his directors. That may also put people off, but I have to say, this documentary also shows just how laser sharp the man was. The same blistering honesty he brought to his acting roles, he also brought to life. He saw that acting was a means to an end – that time was the true currency of man – and after he had 'made it', he made sure to enjoy his life. He was a pillar of moral rectitude during the Civil Rights movement, standing up for African-Americans and later also for Native Americans. He saw through the phoniness and profiteering in the world, and sought to live his life simply in Tahiti and elsewhere. He had a difficult childhood and relationship with his father, and yet reached a point of forgiveness, understanding that his dad was a product of his own upbringing, and so on, and so on.
Despite the maelstrom of chaos and occasional controversy in his life, what emerges is the coherence of Brando's honesty and his moral code. He humiliated himself by taking parts that were ridiculous and which he later regretted, but if you put that into the context of his life and his priorities, you'll empathize with him, and will be far less prone to laughing at him. I was aware of all the elements of his story, but this documentary really brought it all together for me, and left me admiring the man even more. He was a true hero, a brilliant actor with a social conscience and an intellect that should is under-appreciated.
In terms of the documentary, there are some elements that are less effective. The scenes showing his crude digitized likeness. The audio when it's hard to understand, and which would have been helped with subtitles (turning on close caption helps, even if you're not hearing impaired). The less than even storytelling, though it's always the case that a biographer must choose what to leave in, and what to leave out. With all of that said, director Stevan Riley delivers, and there will be things in this documentary for everyone, regardless of how much you come in knowing about Brando. Strong film.
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