Movie Review: I'm Not There

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International

Nostalgia for the 60s characterizes another new film out there now, this one Oscar nominated. Todd Haynesí Iím Not There is an ambitious and artistic look at Bob Dylan, seen through six different faces of the folk singer, albeit fictional characters. The most skillful of these is portrayed by Cate Blanchett who plays Jude Quinn, a Dylan personage that is hounded by the media and followed by fans and the paparazzi. This particular part of Dylanís life is shot in black and white and evokes the period of time when the Beatles romped around with their fun music films and Edie Sedgwick was a burning flame. The role gave Blanchett an Oscar nod.

The piece includes a concert in which Dylan is ridiculed and taunted by his audience and where his alcohol and drug addiction becomes manifest.

The background of the legendary singer is shown from two viewpoints- one when Dylan is a young boy and travels the country by jumping trains, and a lifetime preoccupation with, Billy the Kid, played by Richard Gere. Though this is the weakest part of the story arcs, no doubt because Gere always plays Gere and no one else. Marcus Carol Franklin, who is named Woody Guthrie, plays the young Dylan.

Ben Whishaw plays Arthur Rimbaud; an incoherent chain-smoking tweak of Dylan. When promoted for answers he replies, ďIím not something that came out of a cereal boxĒ. Christian Bale as Jack Rollins gives us the taste of the artistry of the Dylan and his folk music tradition

When we look at the famous Dylan who had been at it for a while it is Health Ledgers turn to play Robbie Clark, another Dylan spinoff. Most of this tale surrounds his marriage to Clair - played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. The loss of vitality to this optimistic and captivating love affair is shown through flashbacks to the beginning of the romance, and the sour and acrimonious outcome ending in divorce and a custody battle.

The assemblage of fantasy figures is an ingenious idea. One that Todd Solenz attempted in Palindromes where the main character Eva comes in different body sizes, ages, ethnic background and gender benders.

Taking the idea of multiple characters playing one central figure to another level Haynes shows the many sides of the famous composer and musician. Including the problematic period on which Dylan became a religious zealot. Haynes reels in the many faces of Dylan well in this mesmerizing narrative.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Stockholm Sweden
More Information:
I'm Not There
USA/Germany - 2007