Country: USA / UK
Movie Review: Anton Corbijn is a Dutch photographer, music video director, and filmmaker who deserves accolade for his first two films – “Control”, the amazingly photographed biopic of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic leader of the English grey band Joy Division, and “The American”, an unforgettable low-key European crime thriller, starring George Clooney as a hitman. The following move consisted in the less spellbinding, but still solid, “A Most Wanted Man” with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as the protagonist. I was expecting a motivating return this year, with “Life”, another biographical drama focused on the Magnum photographer, Dennis Stock, circumspectly played by Robert Pattinson. Stock drew the world’s attention in the mid 50’s with his photo essay about the emerging actor James Dean, stylishly embodied here by the competent Dane DeHaan. The title of the film alludes to the Life Magazine that published Dennis’ self-assigned work, two days before the premiere of Elia Kazan’s ‘East of Eden’, which just confirmed James Dean as a big Hollywood star. Stock and Dean first got in touch in a party hosted by Nicholas Ray, who was considering Dean for ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. Recognition was something that both actor and photographer were searching in their professions, and the trips they’ve made together, from L.A. to New York and then to Marion, Dean’s hometown in Indiana, will tight a friendship that expands to a fruitful professional collaboration. Dean possesses a quick intelligence, but also a shyness that sometimes makes him run away from everything. He normally looks doped, moving with an artistic pose and dragging his low voice, always with a cigarette between his lips. Despite the easy conversation, he’s a typical misfit who just needs a good friend to hang out. Stock, despite fond of him, often acts obsessively, eager for an opportunity to photograph the future celebrity. He’s the type of guy who almost doesn’t have a minute to spend with his 7-year-old son whom he barely sees after divorcing his wife. Both men confess their frustrations to each other, but somehow the film starts to devitalize, never delivering the humble consistency it has suggested. Unsurprisingly, I found much easier to focus in Dean than in Stock, whose personal life is not so interesting to justify a film. Even not knowing on which character I should be focused, “Life” presents articulate fractions of moods and vibes while resting in its passionless pose.