Friday, July 31, 2009
This foot came through the line
Above is Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes' 2007 flick I'm Not There. I've never hidden how underwhelmed I was by Haynes' David Bowie crypto-biopic Velvet Goldmine, mainly because it has no real understanding of its subject. This is a whole different kettle of fish, though. It may be that narrative through-lines aren't Haynes' bag. I'm Not There is a tangle of yarn that can go from anywhere to anywhere in an instant, and is better for this. You can imagine Godard making films like this in the late sixties if he hadn't taken that long, ideologically driven leave from narrative cinema.
Blanchett as "Jude Quinn" does give the best performance. She's the wired Dylan who floats through Swinging London and lives on the verge of physical/mental/spiritual collapse. There's no bad acting really, although Ben Whishaw's parts suffer from him not having anyone or anything to play off of. But his narration does give a sort of ghost of a structure.
To anyone else who has seen the film: Christian Bale re-emerges as the Christian Dylan of the late seventies. His sermon is supposed to sound like Dubya, right?