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I thought this was a very good film. I went in wanting to watch some of Robert Pattinson's work and I was very satisfied. I didn't actually know who James Dean was before watching and I feel like that added to the viewing experience. If I had known his story and that the film was a biopic, I probably would have enjoyed it much less
James Dean character overly dramatic. Bad acting. Hard to stay focus on story line what tone of voice he used. Too bad.
Centred upon a photo essay by Dennis Stock for the titular magazine, Anton Corbijn's sensitive direction and Dane DeHaan's nuanced performance as James Dean render a very intimate portrayal of the modest Hollywood icon on his homecoming excursion to his hometown Indiana weeks before his premature death in a car accident.
Esoteric and evocative of a bygone era.
Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson), who works at the Magnum Photos Agency gets an assignment to shoot rising Hollywood star James Dean (Dane DeHaan), before the release of East of Eden. Friendship developes between them during the assignment, as the pair travels from Los Angeles to New York City to Indiana.
Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph gave the film four out of five stars by saying that "it's an interestingly personal picture about that moment when the shutter snaps, and how it changes the nature of any human interaction" and about performances that "the underrated Pattinson is playing a cold fish here, and does a credible job getting inside Dennis's aura of shifty desperation" and "DeHaan gives us very much his own Dean, and he's immediately rather fascinating." Guy Lodge of Variety said that "peculiarly moving, even subtly queer friendship between the two men that distinguishes "Life" from standard inside-Hollywood fare, while gorgeous production values and ace star turns make it a thoroughly marketable arthouse prospect" and added that "DeHaan and Pattinson enact this anti-romance beautifully, each man quizzically eyeing the other for leads and clues, while coyly retreating from scrutiny. Pattinson, adding to his post-"Twilight" gallery of sharp-cut screw-ups, brings intriguing layers of childish dysfunction to a character who is only ostensibly the straight man in the partnership. DeHaan, meanwhile, plays Dean as the more openly flirtatious of the two, a flashier generational companion to his louchely inspired Lucien Carr in 2013's "Kill Your Darlings."" Stephen Schaefer of the Boston Herald in his review said that, "LIFE is fairly low-key, yet it breathes with an honesty and an astuteness" and that "Pattinson is perfectly cast as Stock, a man adrift with an ex-wife from a teenage marriage and guilt filled about the young son he never sees. DeHaan doesn't exactly resemble Dean so much as inhabit his Fifties hipster lingo, attitude and speech patterns." Little White Lies gave the film a positive review by saying that "As Life proceeds the pace picks up and by the third act, it is a compelling dramatisation of an artistically fascinating alliance." About performance it added that "DeHaan ratchets up Dean's rhythmic speech and sounds permanently like a performance poet reading Allan Ginsberg. He is curt and minimal essaying a very controlled, clock-watching professional" and "Pattinson's performance is as crisp as the white shirt and black suits his character always wears. This is a camouflage for his own problems that slowly unfurl, adding colour and improving the film." While David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film that "Life doesn't deliver on its considerable promise" but ultimately praised Pattinson that "While Pattinson has endured a lot of gratuitous bashing post-Twilight, he gives arguably the most fully rounded performance here, even if the character is inconsistently drawn." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film two stars out of five and notes that, "There are some pleasing touches, but this film is a frustrating experience."
Anton Corbijn entered the film industry as a director with the great "Control" in 2007 and has since then dabbled with other movies. This time around he focuses on the art of portrait photography via Dennis Stock and his collaborations with Hollywood´s magnificent James Dean in the mid 50s. In one way the dynamics and odd friendship between Stock and Dean has an intriguing story, but on the other hand the topic and story isn´t handled all that well by Corbijn. The film has a too slow pace, Pattison and DeHaan are not fully convincing and the editing of the film is not 100%. And part of the problem is that you lose interest in the story quite early on and there´s nothing that really keeps your senses focused on what´s happening. The drama is left out and the mood isn´t tuned in properly. And as I have stated before, I do have an issue with biopics and it´s seldom that sort of films do convince you. "Life" is a bit of a hit and miss as a film, but there´s something intriguing in the real story behind the movie.
Troubled photographer. Moody, genius actor. LIFE magazine. Sounds like cinema bonanza.
Dennis Stock's iconic still of a sopping wet James Dean wading through Manhattan is a grand piece of art, and former NME photog Anton Corbijn attempts to translate that magic on to a moving screen. Corbijn has tread similar waters with an excellent look at Ian Curtis in "Control" (young, troubled, moody, dead), but instead of telling the story, he seems to be reaching for something special here.
Though reaching is understood. Dean was a mumbling mystery; an original maverick, who would reshape the Hollywood landscape in three classic films (two posthumously), before driving his racing Porsche into immortality.
As a hustling freelancer trying to get his foot in LIFE magazine's door, Stock locked on to Dean, knowing he was something special: his ticket. Their complicated, short relationship, from professional and subject, to drinking buddies, to something only hinted at, is the crux of "LIFE".
Poster boy Robert Pattinson is oddly awkward and unlikable as the shutterbug, whilst Dane DeHaan plays the wicked rebel as a whispering softie. It's an oddball movie, filled with oddball characters, in an oddball time. The performances are sublime, and Corbijn delivers the time capsule (1955) perfectly. The film is quite fascinating, but like Dean's career, it seems a tad incomplete.
I was deeply curious nut slow pace of the movie distracted me and for a movie which was about a set of photographs of this actor, the cinematography was dull.& flat thus taking away from the possible nuances and psychological interplay in the brief relationship.
It is an interesting piece of work and a very well-made film. I love James Dean as much as the next person and Dane DeHaan is a great choice for the role... or so I thought. He looks and sounds nothing like Dean, and that really bothered me. Robert Pattinson is fine even though he looks very bored throughout. I think the biggest problem with the film is the story; it's one of those stories that is fascinating to hear, but really boring to watch on the big screen. Despite its title, this film feels oddly lifeless. It's not awful, but it's not good either.
I'll see anything Dane DeHaan is in...it's always a complete transformation.
Anton Corbijn has made two great films of mood and tone and can't seem to find much of either here. A true-life event that is inherently interesting (the Life photo shoot that helped immortalize James Dean) can't manage to be interesting as narrative. Neither character is much to write home about as DeHaan is a hard sell as Dean in looks or mannerism. DeHaan's Dean is an annoying, needy, spacey, and arrogant jerk with nothing interesting to say and not enough presence to be interesting in silence. Pattinson has little more luck with a thin character and nothing interesting to talk about with Dean. Google search the pictures and watch Rebel Without a Cause, you'll have more fun.