This film was much better than I thought it'd be. I had a vision of against-the-light moody, dingy talking heads, each trying to be/sing Dylan.
To me, Dylan is one of those influential enigmas, who hasn't touched me. I don't particularly want him to, either; it annoys slightly how some people get so infatuated with any one artist, likening them to some type of god. Spelt with a small g. I have to admire, however, his poetry and enormous contribution to contemporary music.
It's common knowledge that the music biopic is tired and retreads a set formula, one which generally works, though. But this means that the strength of the subject either makes or breaks it, which in some ways could be a good thing as it proves the fondness/credibility/portrayal of the artist. Trying to find an alternative approach is both brave and interesting and to my mind this film works very well.
It was always going to be a contentious and potentially troublesome project. Different actors, in skin colour, age, sex even, looks disastrous on paper. Apart from my complete failure to grasp Richard Gere's role, to the point where I found it easier to switch my mind off, it was engaging, interesting and absorbing. You could even not have known who Dylan was and simply enjoyed the 'life-story'.
Much has been said of Cate Blanchet's portrayal of the speed-addicted Dylan, which she was Oscar nominated for. Regardless of the novelty of her being a woman playing a man, it is the swinging 60's London monochrome mood, stylised, chic and impeccably conceived and acted, that does it for me. The smooth BBC type heckling from the TV presenter with its nagging 'society' views was akin to one long personal headache for Dylan and opposition from authority in general. Dylan's much vaunted betrayal on his (original) fans is obviously paramount as it's still a question being raised. But, what was it about Dylan that singled him out from all of the many other performers who changed their lifestyles, music, motives? Didn't Jim Morrison start out also as a poet?
For many, that question might not have been answered to satisfaction in this film, and maybe they'd feel let down because of this; but for me, who doesn't care all-that-much, a surprisingly refreshing experience.