Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Wish I Hadn't Been There Either.

Todd Haynes' I'm Not There blows.

I saw it last night for free and I felt robbed. I wanted to leave halfway through but Jessica was determined to sit it out for some reason. It would have been the first movie I would have walked out of. And I should have.

Haynes presents various dull caricatures of Bob Dylan. There are numerous talented actors doing flaccid renditions of Dylan as a young troubadour, a lost soul, a rebel, a poet, a drifter who doesn't fit in. None of them showcase a young man caught in a spotlight that he didn't want, not wanting to (not mature enough to) shoulder responsibility for anything.

I'm Not There. Nor was I an actual screenshot from the film.  |  MovieWeb - Movie Photos, Videos & More

The film highlights a couple of central components of the Dylan legacy. YES, he DID sing about things that were before his time. He loved John Henry and all those other folk-type things because they were legendary. YES, he WAS ALSO well read. He did in fact name himself after poet Dylan Thomas. YES, someone DID yell "JUDAS!" at him when he played an electric set and YES, he DID respond with "I don't believe you...".

But who gives half a crap?

Haynes has consumed all of Dylan's legacy and steamrolled it out into one major dump of a movie, assuming that if you put interpretative things on the screen, if you fade in and out of storylines, it will all make cosmic sense. It didn't. Which isn't to say I didn't understand it. I know about Dylan, so I did understand most of it. And YES, I did get the occasional chuckle out of seeing Christian Bale and others in classic photos (or album covers) of Dylan. But people who don't know anything about Dylan will not be entertained at all.

I'm Not There should have spent one week in an off-Broadway production and then should have slipped through the cracks of the entertainment industry into the realm of failure and embarrassment.

Zero stars. (Seriously.)

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