Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Ben Whishaw, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger, Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg
I’m a Bob Dylan fan. I am, however, more of a bubble gum Dylan fan. You know; his 60s radio stuff: Times They Are a Changing, Like a Rolling Stone. I’m that kind of a Dylan fan. This movie was not made for me, and believe me, if you are not a Dylan fan at all, then this movie was sure as Hell not made for you, either. This film is made for those knowledgeable, got-all-his-albums-and-know-his-life-story, kind of fans. I did go to this flick with two such fans and they were still grinning like idiots 20 minutes after, so I guess they liked it. For me it was like clouds; pretty, but way over my head and can’t hold my attention for two hours. The acting is good and there are some nice visuals here, but the story is a metaphoric mess, that only makes any kind of sense if you are quite familiar with his Royal Dylaness.
This is a roughly autobiographical story of Bob Dylan, but because he is such a flake (ok, some prefer the term, enigmatic, since he’s successful), they tell the story with about five different characters. Cate Blanchett (yup, as an androgynous, male Andy Warhol-type character), Christian Bale, Ben Wishaw, and Heath Ledger all play differently named fictional characters in alternating storylines, representing Dylan at different stages in his life. Add in, as well, Marcus Carl Franklin, playing an eleven year old black folk singer (and, wow, this kid IS good!) who apparently represents a younger, wandering Dylan. There is also another storyline that has Richard Gere playing an aged Billy The Kid in a weird Halloween western town, that ties in to Bob Dylan somehow I guess. As you may have surmised, the end result is a surreal, metaphorical tale that is as cryptic as Dylan and his songs.
The I’m Not There movie poster should have a giant disclaimer of “For Dylan Fans Only” stamped across it, and admittance to the film should be restricted to those who can answer five skill-testing Dylan questions. It has received some early critical acclaim, but once the self-important, band wagon crowd finishes lauding its uniqueness, and some impressive performances, it will be relegated to stuffy film classes and music maniacs’ film libraries. But, hey if you are a real (not bubble gum), Dylan fan, enjoy. If you are forced to accompany a real Dylan fan to the cinema on this one, choose a multiplex and go see Walk Hard while they are sucking up this lemon.
I’m Not There – movie quotes:
Movie lines from I’m Not There
“I’m Against Nature. I’m Not Cool With Nature.”
“Sleep? Sleep is for dreamers, man.”
“I accept chaos. I’m not sure if chaos accepts me.”
Director: Todd Haynes