Don Juan DeMarco Reviews
Don Juan Demarco is not a film like any other I have ever seen, for better and for worse. It is a romantic comedy, a fantasy film and a psychological drama all in one which focuses on the theme of love. It is a rather cheesy film but uses that in a thoroughly artistic sense which renders it a great film.
Don Juan DeMarco is a quirky tale, and that is both a positive and negative aspect of it. The film goes back and forth between the contemporary timeline relating to establishing the psychology of John Arnold DeMarco/Don Juan as well as the relationship between Dr. Jack Mickler and his wife Marilyn and the contextual storyline of what lead Don Juan DeMarco to become suicidal. There are three plots that run in the film without many of them having much depth to them. So in the narrative department, Don Juan DeMarco is not really that great. But the point of the film is that it is not supposed to be. The film is built simply on the concept of love against the backdrop of a fantasy playing out in the reality of a contemporary society and how the beliefs clash. It never really answers a lot of the questions that it asks, but as an exploration of romance and beauty, Don Juan DeMarco does the job just right. The lack of story in the film is justified simply by its spirit and energy, and while it may not be a groundbreaking film or one with that much of a story, it certainly benefits from the presence of Jeremy Leven as director.
The main thing that Jeremy Leven brings to Don Juan DeMarco is an incredible visual style. The scenery for the film is just wonderful and it makes the tale seem really legitimate, and it is all captured with wonderfully atmospheric cinematography which works to illuminate the colour of it all. The wonderful beauty of the versatile settings in Don Juan DeMarco is easily brought to life as well as the script, so he turns the story into the fantasy romantic comedy that it really cries out to be, letting it flourish into the eccentric and beautiful creation that it had the potential to exist as.
The soundtrack is also nice, with Brian Adams' Academy Award nominated song "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" being the high point of it all.
But the most impressive aspect of Don Juan DeMarco is just how much the cast are able to illuminate the screen in the feature.
Johnny Depp is a flawless casting decision for the role of the titular Don Juan DeMarco. Considered by many to be one of the sexiest men alive, he is a perfect fit for the role of real-life a sex god. He is perfectly seductive in the part due to his slick and natural sex appeal as well as his smooth line delivery. One of the central elements in the story of Don Juan Demarco is the titular character attempting to convince Dr. Jack Mickler that his fantastical tale of being the greatest lover of all time is factual, and with Johnny Depp's dedication to the genuine spirit of the character, he immensely succeeds at convincing audiences of it in the same way. Johnny Depp is able to capture the sleek sexiness necessary for the character and then add a level of sympathetic depth to it, transcending the potential stereotype of a Spanish sex symbol. Johnny Depp is at his sexiest in Don Juan Demarco without forgetting to put a likable and sympathetic spirit into the part, capturing a sense of dramatic depth as well as subtle comic charm to serve as an amalgamation of a lot of Johnny Depp's abilities as an actor. He turns Don Juan Demarco into a strong star vehicle for himself with seamless ease.
Marlon Brando is just excellent in Don Juan Demarco. For an actor considered to be one of the greatest male screen legends of all time famous for playing iconic character roles such as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather or Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, it is a nice change of pace to see him playing a more simple and down to earth role like the part of Dr. Jack Mickler in Don Juan DeMarco. With his performance being mainly anchored by the way he interacts with the surrounding cast, Marlon Brando is able to share a light and friendly chemistry with Johnny Depp while having a realistic and touching sense of interaction with Faye Dunaway. Marlon Brando's restrained performance capitalises on his ability to draw the strength out of relationships with other actors, doing his best and helping the other actors in doing the same. As much of the film is lighthearted, Marlon Brando plays the sensible moral compass of the story with a strong dedication to the dramatic aspects of the film. He makes Dr. Jack Mickler a touching and likable character through the most simple acting dedication, and it is a strong example of one of his final performances.
Faye Dunaway also delivers a nice effort. In her small but pivotal role, she plays the object of Marlon Brando's affections and delivers a likable effort as a woman on the receiving end of inspired romantic gestures. Her role is a simple and easygoing one which uses her most likable characteristics as a person which is great considering it is a nice contrast to her more intense and character focused roles that she is more iconic for. Faye Dunaway makes a strong duo with Marlon Brando and brings an effective touch of meaning to her role.
So while Don Juan DeMarco is short on story, it works as a colourful examination of love through a strong sense of style from director Jeremy Leven and wonderful performances from Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando who share a nice chemistry.
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