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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He Isn't. Are We?
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...
Published on 3 Feb 2012 by Tim Kidner

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect this to be a documentary
I expected this film to tell me more about Bob and play a lot more music. The vignettes are stylish and well acted, but tell me very little about Bob, apart from showing him in a poor light. I don't know what's true, exaggerated or just made up. I think true Dylan fans will love this film, recognising all the references etc . But to me, who just has a few albums, it...
Published on 30 Oct 2011 by Julian Barnes


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He Isn't. Are We?, 3 Feb 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six other sides of Dylan, one great Haynes film!, 27 Feb 2008
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
Todd Haynes' I'm Not There is a hugely exciting and incredibly beautiful film. It gives a sweeping view not just of Dylan's music, but also of his times from the 1950s to the 1980s. It is also the first time that Dylan has licensed his entire back catalogue to be used in a film.
Deservedly the film received a special Jury prize and a best actress award for Cate Blanchett at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.
Dylan is played by six different actors, playing six abstractions of his personality. Each of these abstractions inhabit a cinematic world of their own, the associations stretching from Fellini's 8 , Hal Ashby's Shampoo to made-for-television documentaries of the early 1980s. Maverick cinematographer Ed Lachman recently said that Haynes created the rhythms of the Dylan's music in the film, using free-associations you're allowed in music and reinterpreting those as film.
This is a film that eschews the easy biopic route, forcing the spectators to use their own intelligence. It is the closest any film can ever hope to get to Dylan's music and his own Chronicles. If someone calls this film pretentious, it is only as pretentious as Dylan himself, in that he always played with peoples expectations and tried something unpredictably new. I'm Not There certainly deserves to be seen more than once and preferably on a very big screen. Don't believe those bad reviewers, they are liars.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the old, weird america, 26 May 2008
By 
R. S. Everatt (WHITSTABLE, KENT United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
I'd really just like to say a word or two to those who persist in describing the Richard Gere segment of this film as its weakest point: please go back and listen to The Basement Tapes, pay attention to the sleevenotes, and if you've got the time and intellectual energy, read Greil Marcus's Invisible Republic. You will recognise all the strange characters who populate that eerie place that seems to hover between this world and some other (Marcus's Invisible Republic, or The Old, Weird America), and you will see why Gere's character is so crucial to this kaleidoscopic view of Dylan's art. I found this part of Haynes's admirably ambitious movie to be the most thrilling, and Jim James's otherworldly rendition of Goin' To Acapulco the most stunning piece of music (outside Dylan's own, naturally). Much of Dylan's best work seems always to be just beyond our grasp, which is partly why it is so compelling, but there are gateways to a deeper understanding available to us if we can be bothered to look for them. Like all gateways they can let us in or they can keep us out. Our choice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect this to be a documentary, 30 Oct 2011
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
I expected this film to tell me more about Bob and play a lot more music. The vignettes are stylish and well acted, but tell me very little about Bob, apart from showing him in a poor light. I don't know what's true, exaggerated or just made up. I think true Dylan fans will love this film, recognising all the references etc . But to me, who just has a few albums, it was a little empty, if quite watchable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars food for the eyes, 18 May 2012
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not a big fan of watching films more than once, I very rarely do it in fact, yet I have watched this film about 100 times. It is visually the most beautiful film I have ever seen. I do think that the more you know about Dylan the more enjoyment you will get out of this film, as it is definitely not a straight biopic and it is fun to pick out the references.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Dylan on Blu-Ray, 20 April 2011
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One of the films of the noughties and easily the best Dylan on dvd or blu-ray. The amazon review says all you need to know but I'll just add that there are some wonderful cover versions in here. Calexico's Goin' to Aculpulco is my highlight. Hanes plays it cool by choosing the less obvious Dylan. Brilliant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan is 6 people ...at least., 16 April 2011
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
Take a look on this website at reviews of Dylan's albums. You'll quickly see a diversity of critical opinion as to what was 'the best Dylan'. Some like the folk-singer mid 60's, some the blistering mercurial later 60's, some the more reflective and complex 70's ..and on it goes. There have been at least 6 Bob Dylan's depending on what was happening personally, socially and musically in his life and in contemporary culture. So why not have a film that takes this to its logical conclusion?

Ok, it's probably one for Dylan fans to be honest, otherwise it's going to make very little sense. But after watching this, music biopics such as 'Ray' and 'Walk The Line' seem dull, unimaginative and rather vapid.

If you like how Haynes makes fiction from true stories and yet somehow reveals even more, also watch 'Velvet Goldmine' - a more traditional narrative that has equal fun with the David Bowie myth.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining verging on the bizzare, 21 Oct 2009
By 
M. C. Whiting "cwhiting72" (NORFOLK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
I will just say that if you are buying or watching this to see a straight biopic of Bob Dylan - think again.

'I'm Not There' is, other than a song title, the whole point of the movie. Dylan is, in a way, never there. All of the 6 fine actors portraying the musician are not actually portraying the musician. The writer has decided that as Dylan transformed himself so radically and so many times that rather than leave it to one actor, or for that matter one character, he has assembled a stellar cast to play different characters representing these stages of Dylan's life.

Perhaps the most recognisable characters are those played by Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale, who embody the philosophic and self-absorbed superstar Dylan of the 'electric' era and the philanthropic protesting Dylan during the Vietnam war respectively. Bale also features as the same character a few years down the line as the Christian convert Dylan. In this sense, Bale's character is the only one who in himself shows any sign of change whereas the other's appear to be more archetypal representations of Dylan's life at these stages.

Heath Ledger gives a superb portrayl in what was his penultimate screen performance. He plays a movie star who is struggling with achieving a balance between the celebrity lifestyle and being in a grounded relationship with a loving partner and children. It is a testament to him, and his co-stars within his story, that they can effectively portray a whole relationship with its ups and downs in so few scenes. Ben Whishaw has arguably the easiest role on the eye as he regularly interjects the action of the movie to provide tips and advice. He is, effectively, representing a Dylan who is advising his own career and acknowledging the need for change.

The most difficult parts to understand are those at the opposite ends. The young, Marcus Carl Franklin, and the old, Richard Gere. Seeing as the film's first character, after a rather strangely placed Cate Blanchett autopsy, is an African-American boy which is, by the way, supposed to represent Bob Dylan (ever speaking up for the plight of African-Americans). The director thought that Dylan was so supportive and associated with the minorities of the time that he actually thought he would make the character black. Then there is Gere who is an old character trying to achieve total anonymity by retreating to a Wild West setting as Billy the Kid, no doubt an homage to Dylan's musical contribution to the famous film.

The acting is superb and the placing of the music is very moving but in many ways the film's haphazard and confusing structure makes it difficult to follow and you only really get it once you are about half-way through. Imagine the structure of a Tarantino movie, i.e. back to front left to right etc., and then make main character played by a different person and that's how difficult it is.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars his bobness, 30 Jun 2011
decided to purchase this as a dylan fan and a new blu-ray owner and i had aquired a ticket to see his bobness at the london feis at finsbury park so thought it was an apt time to catch up with this film as i hadnt seen it.
it seems have had a very mixed reaction,due mostly i think to its unusual structure....6 actors portraying different aspects of dylans personality,including cate blanchet and a young black boy and it is told in a freeform and non-linear way.(i'd have loved to be at that studio pitch)
personally,i really enjoyed it and thought it was a refreshing change from the standard biopic in the ray or walk the line mould and i think that this approach possibly gets closer to the enigma of dylan than a more standard approach would have.
the film both looks and sounds marvellous in hi-def and is very well acted by an extremely talented cast.
the music is great too of course and dylan,who has often been quite reticent about allowing the use of his music,gave director todd haynes carte blanche to use any songs he wanted and did so without any request for script control and without interfering in the filmaking process.this is key i think as a film about dylan without the songs would have had a hole at its center.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary and Unique, 3 Jun 2008
This review is from: I'm Not There [DVD] (DVD)
Saw this last night and I was spellbound. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but I adored it. Cate Blanchet, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, and the very young Marcus Carl Franklin (superb) were all outstanding. The impressionistic film portrayed the times and Dylan's world beautifully. What can I say - keep an open mind and try to see this on a large screen with good sound. Otherwise you may not "be there".
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