It’s 2:00pm and I’m at the ArcLight in Hollywood, I’ve just purchased my ticket to see the new Dylan biopic. Looking around the lobby as I go, I’m struck by the lack of patrons. Especially for this movie, I would’ve thought that a Dylan flick would be the exact kind of “hip” LA. I don’t really care if no one is going to see this film, at least not today; that’s more Zimmerman for me. The room goes black and that beautiful screen comes alive, I scrunch myself down into my seat and prepare to have my ass kicked, and my friend, that’s exactly what happened.
This is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Now, so you don’t think that’s just a comment made on a whim, I’ve seen at least 40 movies this year, everything from Grindhouse to The Assassination of Jesse James and as brilliant as Jesse James was, I’m Not There matches it and then some.
I think Todd Haynes is one of the bravest filmmakers in Hollywood, to conceive of and then get rights to and financing for this movie. It just shows the rest of us that creatively, we have a long way to go. I’m not going to spoil any part of this film by breaking down each scene, but I will tell you that the movie is made up of every documentary or news article or still photo ever taken of Mr. Dylan. If you dig him and his music, this film might be able to shed some light on who he was or might have been.
I’m Not There is part mythological yarn and part fact-based biopic, and that’s where the magic is. Something else you’ll notice is neither Dylan nor Bob are ever uttered in the movie, instead a series of aliases are used in their place as a metaphor for the separate personalities of our protagonist. Six different stories are perfectly woven together, so carefully, and with such tenderness and respect for history, not just about an American artist but also about America itself.
Dylan is a great American figure in every way, arrogant and humble, brilliant and frightened, and most of all not understood. Haynes obviously wanted his film to be about this legendary artist, but chose to do it in a way that either seduces you with it’s visual splendor or breaks your heart with storytelling. Whatever mood you’re in for I’m Not There can fill that need and for Dylan fans, I’d better see you there, because it’s the only thing around that can make you feel this good.
It’s only playing at a couple of cinemas in all of Los Angeles and that within itself is a crime. You can check on moviefone.com for 3 of the listings, or The Arclight (great for pictures and sounds quality, not for price) will be sure to have it.
If you only see one film for a while, see this one, you won’t regret it.