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.
This documentary proved to be a first for different reasons. For example: Marlon Brando was well known for being an intensely private man who loathed just about everything that came with Hollywood and fame. To hear him project his own inner thoughts about himself and his early life, came as quite a surprise to many fans. See more »
This makes largely creative use of Brando's career-long tendency to create diaries on audio tape. He also made self-hypnosis or relaxation tapes that are used here to very interesting effect; these are poignant, funny, and profound at once. Brando was shrewd and insightful, but the tapes also demonstrate the difficulty of healing private wounds through introspection alone. He resisted anyone who tried to be close to him; if they succeeded, as Bertolucci seemed to, he felt betrayed. These monologues are occasionally the stuff of Sophocles or Samuel Becket--but overall like some involuted, existentialist novel. I am less enthusiastic about the editing, which is often abrupt and involves oscillatory panning or camera movements that suggest a rough ferry ride. His words are often dynamic enough. A holographic computer image of Brando's head, seeming to date from around 1998, is made to animate many of his words, about once every ten minutes or so. This is at once spooky and quaint (if the 1990s are now quaint) but it recurs so much that it's like a child in a mask over-doing a joke at a party. The photographic choices from Brando's career are often good, but Brando's childhood home (suggested in a fantasy sequence) is furnished like some impoverished house from 1980, among a few such anachronisms. My strongest criticism of this still engaging movie is for its use of music. It is needlessly chronic--it never shuts up-- serving as a constant, indicative background, when Brando's voice would often suffice. And this soundtrack music itself is not great--at its best, it is Philip Glassy stuff, but often it sounds like a melodramatic "dark" variety of 1980s "new age" music. The music is extremely high in the soundtrack mix, and strangest of all, the director/ sound editors chose to let this new-agey soundtrack compete obnoxiously with any original music that may have been part of any film clip. So when we see famous clips from his major movies, like "Streetcar," the original music mixes dissonantly with the faux-Glass music. I found the sound editing a real distraction that shouldn't have passed the draft stage.
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