A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
-
I'M NOT THERE
2007 - Todd Haynes - United States / Germany
32

-
Because of its challenging complexity I'm Not There is a difficult film to describe or even to fully grasp. Fortunately the film is so full of unique energy and fun that repeat viewings are easy. In fact this is a film I simply love watching more and more. I'm Not There opens with a long shot of a motorcycle followed by a poetic series of shots that seem to reflect that of a death, and within a cut, and immediate rebirth into seclusion. Is this representative of Bob Dylan's life? Perhaps, but Todd Haynes is not necessarily as interested in representing the coherent moments and events of Dylan's life, or even the conventional structures of narrative filmmaking. Instead Haynes presents a metaphorical representation of uneven identities within a society. This has always been at the heart of Haynes work and certainly I'm Not There is in this mold. Ultimately this film is a poem structured in concepts and metaphors and while seemingly in-cohesive there remains a connected thematic that makes this whole (as such recalling the work of French innovator Jean Luc Godard). Like Godard, I’m Not There is intellectually challenging and seemingly uneven yet cohesively structured. It is also incredibly fun and energetic. I guess in all this, I'm Not There can be like the experience of listening to Dylan's music. The film is organized in somewhat intertwining segments which I think emerge as a full circle in the Richard Gere segments. At the center and ultimately the heart and energy of the film is Cate Blanchett who in full mimmick-mode undeniably gives the films finest and most memorable performance. It is in her moments that the film comes to vibrant life (in full Fellini-esque beauty). Of course that is not to deny what it a great ensemble effort from this remarkable cast (Heath Ledger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin, Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams). I'm Not There is a bold achievement and one that I think is most admirable in both its unconventional recreation of the biopic and it's distinct vision. Ultimately I think Haynes has made a film that is his and I think this is a film that is ahead of its time, as it will take further reflection before its fully appreciate as the achievement that it is. I know I still need to see this one again, and again, and again....
-

-