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Plot:

Six incarnations of Bob Dylan: an actor, a folk singer, an electrified troubadour, Rimbaud, Billy the Kid, and Woody Guthrie. Put Dylan’s music behind their adventures, soliloquies, interviews, marriage, and infidelity. Recreate 1960s documentaries in black and white. Put each at a crossroads, the artist becoming someone else. Jack, the son of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, finds Jesus; handsome Robbie falls in love then abandons Claire. Woody, a lad escaped from foster care, hobos the U.S. singing; Billy awakes in a valley threatened by a six-lane highway; Rimbaud talks. Jude, booed at Newport when he goes electric, fences with reporters, pundits, and fans. He won’t be classified.

Also Known As: Beni orada arama, Mi historia sin mi, Bob Dylan: I'm Not There, I'm Not There, Меня там нет, 搖滾啟示錄, I'm Not There - Não Estou Aí, Io non sono qui, Não Estou Lá, Beze me: Sest tvárí Boba Dylana Czech, I'm not there - Bob Dylan életei, Manęs čia nera, I'm Not There. Gdzie indziej jestem, Bob Dylan: 7 obrazov, Noi suntem Bob Dylan, Kus on Bob Dylan?, I'm Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan, L'homme qui était ailleurs, Ani Lo Shum, アイム・ノット・ゼア, Мене там немає, Les vies de Bob Dylan, Nema me

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  • mr-eric-hill
    mr eric hill

    Truly a waste of time.I’ve taken acid trips that made a lot more sense than this film.The film spends 135 minutes to make its obvious point. I stood up four separate times thinking the credits were about to roll before it got to the actual ending.Parts of it are pseudo-documentary, parts are narrated, parts have a story line, parts flash forward, parts flash backward, points of view change constantly, etc. The film maker is trying so hard to be cool that he will leave most of the audience absolutely cold.This film is the antithesis of Bob Dylan.

  • sergio-alejandro-vasquez-molina
    sergio alejandro vasquez molina

    Todd Haynes (“Velvet Goldmine”, “Far from Heaven”) created a non-linear, truly original film, that must be seen by every Bob Dylan lover. Haynes’s tapestry is “inspired by the music and lives of Bob Dylan” – he introduces us to 6 different Dylans: Jack Rollins (Christian Bale), Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin), Jude Quinn (Cate Blanchett), Robbie Clark (Heath Ledger), Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) and Arthur Rimbaud (Ben Whishaw), interweaving their stories in a groundbreaking narrative slightly similar to Todd Solondz’s unsettling, caustic “Palindromes” (2004), in which several very different actresses (and a boy) play a 13 year-old pregnant girl. While “Across the Universe” illustrated The Beatles’ fantastic songs with simple, adorable characters in a psychedelic rhythm, but with little character development (not that I’m complaining: I absolutely love to see visual masters like Baz Luhrmann or Julie Taymor on fire, since their self-indulgence creates wonderful sensorial pieces), “I’m Not There” is much more complex: it’s deeper than conventional biopics (“Ray”, “Walk the Line”), and much smarter than exploitative flicks (the atrocious “Factory Girl”). Haynes crafted a unique film that’s a feast for the eyes (thanks to cinematographer Ed Lachman, “The Virgin Suicides”, who also co-directed the disgusting “Ken Park” with Larry Clark), ears (Dylan’s music is always a pie in the sky) and mind (it’ll make you admire the man even more, and it doesn’t even need to be an ass-kissing biopic to succeed on that). The cast is heterogeneous and solid, but I think critics are overrating Cate Blanchett for the sheer fact that she’s playing a man (which makes things more challenging for her, indeed), when she’s not really better than most of the cast; a good performance for sure, but I was much more impressed by Christian Bale and the young revelation Marcus Carl Franklin. Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Michelle Williams play some important women from Dylan’s life, and the always underrated Bruce Greenwood has a small but interesting part. All in all, this isn’t a film that will enjoy big commercial success, and it’s probably too artsy (although, not in a bad way) to get the Academy’s top prize (even though Blanchett’s performance and, maybe, Haynes’s magnificent directing/writing, will probably be remembered), but it’s a real gem for those who want to see something really exciting and original. As for myself, I’m thankful to Haynes and his audacious, faithful producer Christine Vachon (this woman rocks, and in a perfect world, she’d have all the money that a certain Jerry Bruckheimer possesses), who always dare to blow us away – something rare, these days. Fascinating. 10/10.

  • angela-stey-b-eng
    angela stey b eng

    I just returned from viewing this film at the New York film festival, and I must say it potentially Haynes’ best film to date. By abstracting from a conventional biopic, the film captures the essence of Dylan. The different actors that play Dylan chronicle the metamorphosis of an icon. With an astounding ensemble the performances are flawless. Cate Blanchett in particular, is uncanny as Dylan at the peak of his stardom, in all likelihood securing a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Technically the editing is seamless and Haynes is successfully able to integrate a multitude of styles. In emulating Dylan, the film itself is structured much like a poem. Haynes strings together fact and fiction, the real and surreal and the self and society into a magnificent fabric that illustrates the identity of one of the greatest American icons.

  • stana-bazjak
    stana bazjak

    To appreciate I’m Not There., you need to fully buy into its somewhat-implausible premise; in it, six actors represent various aspects of Bob Dylan throughout his many decades in the limelight. If you buy into this premise, then this is a unique, thoughtful perspective of an almost-unknowable individual, a man who famously played things close to the vest, a man who shunned introspection. But if you don’t immediately buy into this premise, then the movie just feels like a long experiment that isn’t entirely successful, and in the end you don’t feel you know much more about the man, the myth, the legend than you knew going in. Which might be the point, who’s to say? And that’s sort of where I land on the whole I’m Not There. issue.Here’s one big problem right off the bat. The six various characters, each representing part of Dylan, have different names. Some of them are named after real-life people, like Woody Guthrie and Arthur Rimbaud. Some have fictitious names, like Jude Quinn (an amalgam of Jude from “Hey Jude” and Dylan’s own “The Mighty Quinn”), Jack Rollins, and Robbie Clark – the latter being an actor playing one of the aspects in a movie. And then it gets confusing.The first gimmick for this movie is that each aspect is played by an actor you wouldn’t expect to see playing Dylan. Okay, maybe not all of them, but some of them. Cate Blanchett is one. She’s female, in case you were unsure, and she is by far the best Dylan in the movie. She plays Jude, the latter-day, peeved-at-everyone Dylan. Another is Marcus Carl Franklin, who plays “Woody Guthrie” – here, a young version of Dylan, riding the rails across the Midwest. Franklin is African American. Then there’s Heath Ledger and Christian Bale, who are Australian (as is Blanchett) and Welsh, respectively. The problem with those, though, is that the only difference between them and the real Dylan is Dylan’s particular linguistic tendencies, so you wind up with just some guys acting Dylanesque. You know, the perpetual cigarette dangling precariously, the hat, the whole nine yards.It would have been more effective, for me, if each of the aspects was played by completely different looking people – because in order for them to be identifiable as Dylan, they would have to sound like him. Otherwise you’re left with some folk-singing iconoclast who’s rebelling against everyone, and you don’t know why. So there’s one issue. And that would have been a clever, but not too-clever, way for each supposed aspect or time period to be represented. Even if two aspects were on the screen simultaneously, big deal – at least we could tell who was who.But added to this gimmick is the fact that some non-Dylan characters – and some situations – are based on real-life people, like Allen Ginsburg, and retain their counterparts’ names, and others are clearly supposed to be real people but have … different names. And some situations definitely did occur (such as Dylan’s getting booed at the Newport festival, a huge turning point for him), but did all of them? Were any of them made up to highlight that particular aspect of his personality? One of the characters is Arthur Rimbaud. No, not the poet, he just has that name. Anyway, the entirety of his screen time is spent giving testimony or something to officials (or a jury, I’m not sure). And his speeches are of the deep philosophical sort, the kind that Dylan was apparently fond of – ways to get into people’s minds, but I’m not sure what the soliloquies add in terms of exposition and revelation.Then there’s also Richard Gere, who plays Billy the Kid, another “aspect” of Dylan. Apparently here Billy is mythologized as this hiding loner at the end of his career, just sort of like Dylan, only Dylan’s not even now at the end of his career, unless he keels over tomorrow, or something. Gere’s good, and I don’t say that often, but I think the aspect, such as it is, is too abstract and unreadable to be worthwhile.The intermittent narrator (Kris Kristofferson) is marginally helpful; perhaps he could have been used to tie all these aspects together. Instead we get two hours of ego feeding and idol worship. To me, though, it felt more like idle worship than anything else, a waste of time even if you’re willing to grasp whatever deep insights the film pretends to offer to you.

  • sarah-mason-murphy
    sarah mason murphy

    This has to be one of the most disappointing movies of all time. Unless you are a huge Bob Dylan fan and very much ‘in-the-know’, avoid this film at all costs. The constant to-ing an fro-ing between apparently unrelated characters made me feel like I was watching a film made by an undergraduate student attempting to impress a pretentious lecturer. I consider myself in the majority when I say that I go to the movies to be entertained, rather than frustrated and bored and for that reason alone this film has to rank as one of the worst I have ever watched. Blanchett is good, though, I think – amongst the rambling context of the movie it’s hard to really know how good her performance was!

  • betty-castro
    betty castro

    In-spite of the soundtrack, this movie resembled the kind of trite one would be expecting coming out a high school film club. The movie follows several stories, each one either a version or image of the artist. Unfortunately, none of these are entertaining or interesting. Though the whole story should be relatively easy enough even for the non Dylan fan if at a point you feel a bit lost just pause and remember this: Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything, there wasn’t anything there to begin with.The poor quality of script plays a key role in this films failure it is not alone. The movie makes use of ‘cut scene’ transitions and effects of the same quality and caliber as those that come bundled with a mediocre digital camera to help compound its stink. Although I wish i could go into more detail about various parts of this movie and how they failed I find it a much quicker task to point out what works. The soundtrack. That’s all.As big a Dylan fan as one may be there is always this to keep in mind: Applying the music of Bob Dylan to this movie is no different then applying perfume to lawn fertilizer. In the end, it’s still just a sack of crap.

  • pilar-nogueira-nascimento
    pilar nogueira nascimento

    Take all the music, everything you’ve heard, read, seen in documentaries about Bob and throw them in a blender and pull them out and what you get is “I’m not there” And it’s a tasty concoction of a movie that comes off like a dream of everything that’s publicly known about his life. Perhaps even Bob himself dreaming about the course of his life. The more you do know about what’s out there about Bob the more you’ll be able to make the connections with the scenes in this beautiful montage about the poet, songwriter, and musician genius of the last 60 plus years. This is a great film about a very complicated artist who could never be pinned down as representing any one ideology or persona although he seemed to imply many. I suppose Dylan will always be the great enigma and this film only helps to perpetuate it, which is part of what makes it so successful but as we all now know there’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all.

  • marta-amanovic
    marta amanovic

    Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There is a genuinely visionary work of art; ostensibly a biopic of Bob Dylan, Haynes has actually made seven different short movies, each with its own precise cinematic language, which have then been carefully interwoven to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. I won’t bother rehashing the film’s central conceit and plot, which have been extensively commented on elsewhere. I will say that the misguided reviewers who praise the Cate Blanchett portion of the movie above the others (wonderful though her performance is) are missing Haynes’ point entirely. Each of the different segments of I’m Not There inform and comment on each other in ways that are sometimes direct and sometimes oblique but there is ALWAYS a logic to the overall structure. For someone to say that they would have preferred a movie entirely about Blanchett as Dylan is tantamount to saying that they would have preferred a more traditional Dylan biopic in the manner of Ray or Walk the Line. This traditional biopic formula is precisely what Haynes is trying to explode and the Richard Gere segment of the film (the most critically maligned portion of the movie by far) is where he succeeds in his strategy the most!Despite what many critics have written, it is not Christian Bale as the born-again Dylan who portrays the oldest incarnation of the Dylan character. It’s Richard Gere as Billy the Kid. What Haynes seems to be saying is that Billy the Kid should have been gunned down in his youth by Patt Garrett but has miraculously lived to grow old – just as Dylan should have died in a motorcycle accident in 1966 yet is still on tour today at age 66. (Viewed in this light, each of the younger versions of Dylan can be seen as the memories of Gere’s Dylan-as-aging- outlaw.) While it is true that Gere’s segment also has ties to the “Basement Tapes”-era Dylan, the fact that Billy is also supposed to represent Dylan in the 21st century is crucial. Without this understanding, the interaction between Billy the Kid and Woody Guthrie (the completion of a circle of life) makes no sense. No wonder critics are flummoxed at the Gere portion of the movie! This is the kind of film that makes you grateful to be living in the present, when a genuinely daring and extremely talented filmmaker like Haynes can use the resources of Hollywood and bend them to his will to create something that is at once experimental, radical, challenging, funny, moving and, yes, finally, liberating. I’m Not There leaves the rest of contemporary American cinema in the dust.

  • maurycy-pezda
    maurycy pezda

    Positively dreadful film. Probably must be ranked as one of the all-time worst viewed by yours truly.The film depicts the life of Bob Dylan at various stages of his life. The film is terribly uneven with different characters just made to bounce around makes for a totally uninteresting affect.Yes, Cate Blanchett does give a solid performance but you just keep wondering and wondering what this is all about.The backdrops of the struggle for civil rights is lost in the absolute nonsense generated by the characters in this ensemble cast. Problem is that the writing is so atrocious, the uneven plot is never permitted to gel.A simply awful production of the worst character imaginable.

  • helena-vainio-nuutinen
    helena vainio nuutinen

    I am perhaps the biggest Dylan fan on the planet. I took this movie as an insult to his talent, his genius, and his legacy. Dylan is soiled by this movie. If anyone is unfamiliar with Dylan and sees only this, they will run for cover, missing the genuine treat of his achievements.Julianne Moore mimicking Joan Baez’ interview from No Direction Home was an insult to Baez (and Scorsese). Christian Bale’s talentless renditions of Dylan works was an insult to Dylan and me. And, sorry, I can’t tolerate a dykelike Cate Blanchett (who I love) mugging her way about as Dylan. She looks no more like a man than … Charo! They don’t use Dylan’s name in this slimy film; were they afraid of being sued for defamation? I need a shower.

  • amber-ellison
    amber ellison

    All right, I get it. Dylan is a hard-to-get character. But why let the audience pay for this circumstance? At no time this movie was entertaining, at no time the movie gave you something that you could stick to, that you could relate to. The film hunts you from one pointless scene to another. No point of orientation, no direction home. So okay, maybe the movie caught what it is like to be Bob Dylan, not knowing who you are or where you belong. Five points for that. But in one point- and I’m positively sure about that- Todd Haynes wasn’t right- being Bob Dylan must be a lot more exciting than this movie. Having said all there is to know, I still don’t have my ten lines, so maybe I mention the following: Cate Blanchett and the rest of the cast is- as you probably know- brilliant. Anyway, save the bucks and go watch Charlie Wilson’s War.

  • cody-terrell
    cody terrell

    I may have seen worse movies in my life, but I can’t remember what they were. This one I will remember. This one I will tell everyone that I know is not worth watching.The reviews that praise this movie go on and on, paragraph after paragraph, trying to describe what it is about this move that is so great. In the end, they are just as pretentious and make no more sense than the movie itself.There’s a 10 line minimum required for me to make a comment. It’s a shame. This movie can be reviewed in one line.It’s absolutely ridiculous, self-indulgent, pretentious garbage.

  • marieluise-karz
    marieluise karz

    Cate Blanchett is wonderful. The parts of the film in which she acts are compelling. However, all of this could have been done (and has already been done) via documentary footage.Okay, so you can’t pigeonhole Bob Dylan. (Oops; was that a spoiler?) Do I care that he had groupies? Should I? The rest of this miserable excuse for a time-waster is filled with disparate visions of a director let loose with too much money and not enough discipline nor studio oversight. It’s always a danger when the director is the writer and this film proves that warning. The last movie that was this bad was Heaven’s Gate; and it bankrupted two studios.This is a genuinely awful film barely rescued from the dung-heap by Cate Blanchett. Thankfully, we won’t have to remember this film when we remember her distinguished career.Rarely have I screamed at a film “Get to the point!” but, in this example of a director playing with himself, you find that there is no point. “I’m Not There” leaves you thinking that “I Don’t Care” and so becomes “There’s Nothing Here”.Pardon me while I now wash thoroughly.

  • tapio-makinen-savolainen
    tapio makinen savolainen

    I saw this yesterday at my local art-house cinema, with my grandparents who were young when Bob Dylan was ‘big’ (is my lack of knowledge about Dylan already showing? Oh dear), and I have to say, I’m glad I was there – even if Bob Dylan wasn’t.The much-publicised, overly re-hashed concept driving the film is this: Dylan is portrayed by six actors of different races, ages and genders, none of whom are named Dylan, but represent aspects of his personality and life story. Every art-house buff will squeal at this delightfully off-kilter concept (well, except that it’s been done before) – but never used so cleverly I’ll admit. But, the cleverness of the concept only remains clever if it is executed well. This is where most people have a problem with the film.Most of what you may have read in reviews is correct. The film is challenging, borderline plot-less (unless you are generally acquainted with Dylan’s life) and seems muddled (again, only if you don’t have a general knowledge of his life). For anyone who can’t grasp the basic, “each actor represents a stage etc.” concept, this film will be lost on them completely… because it gets even more complicated! The film is so layered, with hidden in-jokes, and snippets of real quotes from songs and interviews with Dylan used as dialogue, and story lines within story lines. A great example is Heath Ledger’s character: Ledger (an actor), plays an actor, playing Jack Rollins in a biopic, who is the representation of folk-singer-Dylan (a stage). An actor in a biopic playing an actor in a biopic about a singer representing Bob Dylan played by an actor in a biopic. The self-parody is just hilarious in this film.To add to these ‘layers’, each actor’s “stage” that they represent is filmed in a distinctive cinematic style, for example, the Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn representing Bob Dylan sequence is shot in lush black and white. Haynes relishes this opportunity to show off, and he does. The film is stylistically stimulating, even if it does drag sometimes for ignoramuses like me who know literally nothing about Bob Dylan.For those questioning the film’s intentions as a biopic, I should think it was really obvious! The opening credits give a huge clue, as the main title comes up in stages: “I”, “He”, “I’m he”, “I’m her”, “Not her”, “Not here”, “I’m not there”.The film is like a dream: you come out of it with this vague (exact details in the film are scarce) and vivid impression of Dylan’s personality, without learning anything. The title is certainly relevant – Haynes’ actually conceals Dylan in this film! This biopic is conventional in the way it still presents a chronological life story if you arrange it all together and remember the actors represent one person, but it is different in the way it doesn’t try to make a real person into a character for a film. This is really the only way to represent someone – by not.This film is composed of stories and individual representations and metaphors that describe a person’s life, their attitudes at points in time and aspects of their personality, but gives us nothing. Absolutely nothing.So, if you’re ready to put the level of effort and concentration required to appreciate and maybe like the film, go for it. But I was not prepared for this film and I wish I’d read a biography before I saw it. That said, not knowing anything did help in a way, as after we had several questions about events in the film and their basis in reality. After all, the trailer had told us that stories were exaggerated, fictionalised, imagined and true. It inspired me enough to look him up on Wikipedia (I know, such dedication!).The performances are all generally good. Blanchett, Bale and Franklin impressed me the most. Blanchett only falls short because of her voice, but she has the accent correct, and she can’t change her voice that much! She became more believable as the film progressed. Charlotte Gainsbourg is also quietly moving in her role as the neglected wife of Ledger’s character.My final opinion is that the film is well executed, but only once you’ve had time to ruminate on it, research Dylan and hear the director’s thoughts on his own work. I read a great deal of reviews as well that helped me to understand (not that I didn’t like the film initially; I liked it after I saw it anyway). Appreciation builds the more I learn about the film and the intricate connections between it and it’s un-subject.That said, should a film be this much hard work just to like? Not for some people, but for others, the effort is worth it. It does eventually pay off, but it’s exhausting.

  • amaliia-atroshchenko
    amaliia atroshchenko

    This is one of those creative theatre drama projects that would have gotten oohs and ahs in high school – or even a bad college – but should have been left there and never seen a larger light of day.6 people play Bob Dylan. But none of the characters are named “Bob Dylan”. And Joan Baez has a different name.What’s the point? Does it help us invert our own values and views by imploding the actual person with non-negative masks of his inner self being? Or is it just pretentious manufactured artsyness? There’s montage; real footage; real fake footage; fake real footage. It moves forward and back in time. Various other tricks. It could have been an MTV video.It’s a good cast – for the most part – and there’s nothing wrong with the acting. And it’s super-inventive to use Blanchet. But it’s soooooooo boring.Haynes did the painfully bad but you-have-to-like-it-because-it’s-so-topical “Far from Heaven”.

  • heikki-lepisto
    heikki lepisto

    Before I saw this movie, I didn’t know very much about Bob Dylan. By watching this I was hoping to gain some insight into his life and his beloved songwriting. After viewing the movie I walked away more confused than I did coming in. For an artist that wrote and performed songs relating to the working class American, it seems strange that a pretentious art-house angle would be used to portray his life. He came across as a cold, bitter individual. The meandering and unfocused direction of the movie seemed to have been made by an amateur college student with no sense of breathing life into it’s subject. It’s a shame that the talent of Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and others were wasted. Perhaps I will gain a strong appreciation of Dylan, but I didn’t from watching this.

  • priska-ivanenko
    priska ivanenko

    Saw this at the Toronto Film Festival. I really liked it, although maybe the Richard Gere scenes are the one’s to skip, though it’s not really his fault. Cate Blanchett is getting a lot of buzz for her performance, and she deserves it. The actors are all playing versions of Dylan, though their characters have different names. Blanchett plays an incarnation of Dylan that would be right around the time of “Don’t Look Back”.Although I think Todd Haynes is mostly successful here, I fear that this will be a film that will really interest people who already know about Bob Dylan, and that it will sort of fly over the heads of everyone else. A good movie, and a nice place to start if you’re a young movie lover who wants to expand and see something less conventional.

  • erika-pinho
    erika pinho

    If you are thinking about seeing this movie I would suggest that you research Dylan first; otherwise you will be lost from the get-go, like I was.You need to know that the characters all represent different aspects of Dylan, and that even though they are “Dylan” they have different names. Some of the Dylan aspects are personified as a young black boy using the name Woody Guthrie, a woman, and a middle-aged Billy the Kidd, for example. And the film jumps from character to character and then back again, frequently.Chances are, if you are not an art film aficionado, you won’t care for this one. On the other hand, if you do your Dylan homework, you may very well enjoy it even though it isn’t typical mainstream movie fare.

  • rui-santos
    rui santos

    I recently watched I’m not there and this movie isn’t done in a way that really makes sense sometimes or flows, but after the first 10 minutes you really understand what is happening.This movie has differen’t stories from differen’t characters that come in and differen’t times, and they all have something to do with bob Dylan’s life.I thought the movie was gonna show one story at a time, but they show one for like 5 minutes then another one and comeback to it later and sometimes only show a clip for it for a few seconds.This is done in a very art-house style and is for fans of the genre, it isn’t abstract crap like some movies but actually has some great scenes that are visually wonderful.Some scenes play like Fellini’s 81/2 and this movie feels like a foreign film a lot of the time but the characters speak English.This movie is far from perfect for my taste and I am not a huge Dylan fan but I respect him a lot, the movie pretty much does a good job at pulling you into it and you go for a ride.It’s well made and the acting is good all around, don’t watch the movie if you don’t like art type films or movies that focus on characters and out of place scenes that are put there for a visual purpose.It’s a cool flick and I think a lot of people can respect it, it’s nice to see something original and not in some movie formula like a lot of Hollywood blockbusters we get these days.

  • mineunyeong
    mineunyeong

    I just saw I’m Not There at the Telluride Film Festival. It is AMAZING. The performances are nothing short of spectacular. Cate Blanchett really nails the role except that her voice obviously can’t hit the same bass as the real Bob Dylan. She does, however, look creepily like Dylan in many instances and really gets the mannerisms right. Christian Bale is another standout. It should be mentioned that all of the performances are really top-notch, nobody falls short. The music was fantastic, too (obviously). My one complaint would be that the film goes on a bit longer than it probably needs to but not enough to affect my overall score. I floated out of the theater after seeing this one. It is definitely essential for all Dylan fans. Many of the people I saw the film with were not very familiar with Dylan’s life or music but they said they enjoyed it as well. See it the day it comes out!

  • luka-vidas
    luka vidas

    That this movie earned a spot on so many top ten lists demonstrates just how desperate people are to agree that the emperor does indeed wear clothes, when it’s plainly obvious that he’s nude.It is the most meaningless and time-wasting biography of a life that I can recall seeing (although I’m not eager to remember any, so they kind of fade away), and the result is a tedious mind-grinding bore for the viewer.Maybe this is due to its subject matter, but I’ll never know, because the film has so failed to tell me anything worth knowing about its subject, I’m not even curious to know any more. Anything that inspired this mess is clearly to be avoided.While not as dreadful as Last Days (2005), in that it actually seems to have some vague point in there somewhere about being defined by your creations, it is no less boring and annoying. It’s not good just because it’s art. It’s bad because it’s just plain bad.So, having seen the raised middle finger offered me by director Todd Haynes, I return it right back at him. Somehow, I think that’s what was intended.

  • abele-hermanis
    abele hermanis

    First and foremost, Bob Dylan is a genius and a perfect subject for interpretation. A great idea with mixed results in I’m Not There. Cate Blanchett opens as Jude Quinn, a mid 1960s era Dylan getting on stage but quickly shown in a motorcycle accident. The British actress looks uncannily like the folk singer, especially in silhouette. Marcus Carl Franklin portrays Woody Guthrie and the eleven year old boy proves to be a major talent. He travels the country by train and in a time shift travels to a hospital to perform a song for the real Woody Guthrie. Christian Bale is in a documentary style portion as fans praise the great artist as the voice of a generation as he treats and reporters with contempt. Bobby does not come off to well as a human being.Later on, Bale reappears as a born again pastor, which showcases Dylan’s brief Christian period , preaching to a congregation and singing the gospel tune “Pressing On” from the album “Saved.”Heath Ledger is in a film within the film as an actor playing the Christian Bale character in the least interesting part of I’m Not There. The second unnecessary segment is Richard Gere as Billy the Kid looking for his dog and meeting Pat Garrett and a convoluted storyline with a funeral, a jail break and back to the train once again. I found the whole experience a disjointed mess with some fine acting. I love Dylan’s work, so this is a wasted effort.

  • neokles-phokadeles
    neokles phokadeles

    This film amazed me. One reason it worked for me is because it’s drenched in Dylan’s music. I wasn’t expecting that. Most of the time, it’s Dylan’s voice when ‘Blind Willie McTell’ or ‘Moonshiner’ or ‘Idiot Wind’ (the slow, acoustic version) suddenly erupt on the sound track to huge emotional effect. Other times instrumental teasers from ‘Man In The Long Black Coat’ or ‘Nashville Skyline Rag’ are planted in the mix like fragments of dreams you can’t quite focus on. All the pre-release publicity had revolved around Cate Blanchett is girl Dylan! and Marcus Carl Franklin is African American boy Dylan! but the film itself unfolds like a kaleidoscopic dream where the pieces never quite meet. A bit like me and all my friends scratching our heads in the 1960s and 1970s and earnestly wondering how John Wesley Harding related to Blonde On Blonde, or how Slow Train Coming related to Blood On the Tracks. Well they don’t. In “Chronicles, Volume One” Dylan dwells on the moment when he stumbled across Rimbaud’s declaration “Je est un autre” which translates into English: “I is someone else”. Dylan writes: “When I read those words the bells went off. It made perfect sense. I wish someone would have mentioned it to me earlier.” That insight has sustained Dylan thru all his multiple personalities, finger pointing folkie, rock & roll rebel, Nashville good ol’ boy (Oh me oh my, love that country pie), tormented lover, Born Again Christian. When he performed on his first album, aged 21, he was trying to summon up the voice of a 60 year old blues singer. That insight sustains this movie because Haynes and his team have been able to match a visual style to each image of Dylan’s life. From the burnt out black & white textures of ‘Fellini’s 8½’ which seem to lock Blanchett inside an amphetamine-fuelled bubble of superstardom to the mellow colour photography of ‘McCabe and Mrs Miller’ which frames Richard Gere. I was surprised by the long Gere sequence. He seems like a recluse in the backwoods but all these strange characters and circus animals roll past, capturing the mood of those bizarre Basement Tape songs: ‘Please Mrs. Henry’, ‘Open The Door Homer’. It seems to be set in a realm that Greil Marcus called ‘The Old, Weird America’. And there’s a visionary flash where Gere peers into the landscape and has a glimpse of Vietnam. It made perfect sense to me. There’s a moment in the Sing Out! interview with Dylan in 1968 (when Dylan was secluded in Woodstock) when Happy Traum asked Dylan “Why don’t you speak out against the Vietnam War?” and Dylan replied: “That really doesn’t exist. It’s not for or against the war. I’m speaking of a certain painter and he’s all for the war. He’s ready to go over there himself. And I can comprehend him. People just have their own views. Anyway, how do you know that I’m not, as you say, for the war?” When Charlotte Gainsbourg (who seems to be playing a composite of Suze Rotolo and Sara Dylan) suddenly drops the divorce settlement into Heath Ledger’s lap, the film cuts to newsreel shots of Henry Kissinger and Lo Duc Tho signing the Vietnam ceasefire accords in Paris. This film isn’t a biopic, this film works in a free association surreal way, like Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, or Highlands works. It’s true to the spirit of one of Dylan’s greatest songs, a song which goes places where no words can go, a song which gives this film its title: “Now, when I keep believing I was born to love her /But she knows that the kingdom waits so high above her /And I run but I race, but it’s not too fast or slow /But I don’t deceive her. I’m not there, I’m gone…

  • gisela-hanel-mba
    gisela hanel mba

    ‘I’m Not There’ Todd Haynes, 2007The biopicture can be a difficult kind of picture to picture. Even more so when you have no intention of divulging the name of your subject. And dare I say it, yet further still when you insist on casting at least six people to play the lead role. This is the charm behind ‘I’m Not There’ – Todd Haynes’ tribute to the life and times of Bob Dylan that recently lit up the Festival di Venezia. Biographic cinema is a frightening beast, some films are stuffed full of information while others attempt to exactly mimic their respective studies. There are however very few that play with their quarry, flitting from fact to fiction so quickly that in the end we know not what to believe. In reality, the life of Robert Dylan was exactly this mess of lies, grandeur, childishness, arrogance and genius. One of almost unbelievable occurrences that when whispered about long enough become carefully set in stone. Todd Haynes understands this fact and so goes after it with a stance of almost awed respect, yet as an onlooker – crafting a mockumentary that is so rich in character and love and attention to detail that we can’t help but be drawn in. I’ve heard early reviews stating that ‘I’m Not There’ will make the Dylanites gush and the normal folk sleep. The fact is this couldn’t be further from the truth – being a person that is indifferent to the music appears only to heighten the enjoyment.Somewhere during the last five years, writer/director Haynes came upon the slightly trampled idea of conducting a Bob Dylan biography movie. Nothing original in itself, though with one idea to make it slightly different from what the likes of Scorsese had attempted a few years back. He would use multiple actors for ‘I’m Not There’, six in fact – to portray the iconic figure. And what an inspired decision it is. The unrecognisable and slender form of Cate Blanchett steals the show, melting into her eye-rubbing, nose-twitching, lip-conscious take that is only too quick to lash those in proximity with a witful tongue. Almost as idiosyncratic is Ben Whishaw’s sarcasm-laced drawling poet Dylan. Who prompts guffaws when tiresomely declaring his name as “R-I-M-B-A-U-D” to an arresting police officer. The eccentric duo are displayed primarily in overexposed black and white, and complementing this in Technicolor are the equally impressive Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Whom fall upon the unwashed, shaded rocker Dylan with equally strong performances. To complete the musical sextuplets are Richard Gere and the delightful Marcus Carl Franklin, these two are the tall-tale Dylans. A jaded western cowboy and a blues-singing black child respectively, both adding another more fictional dimension to the character. They are almost opposite ends of the Dylan-spectrum, and are introduced at the opening and closing of the film to further embolden this point. Franklin in particular impresses, tugging at the humor strings again with his dry recollections of a life on the musical road.The host of supporting actors/actresses in ‘I’m Not There’ do well to further the films themes. With Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julianne Moore taking up the posts of drama and documentary accordingly. Each plays one of the two most important women in Dylan’s life, with Gainsbourg (Sara Lownds) cooking up a memorable on-screen chemistry – or lack thereof – with Ledger’s character. She is instantly attractive across a smoky diner, yet this attraction soon wanes as romance stagnates. Never-ending tours take their toll and the once exciteful, scooter-riding relationship crumbles. Moore’s character (Joan Baez) is more reflective, playing her whole part as if interviewed enthusiastically many years on. My only problem is with the later segments of ‘I’m Not There’. Particularly those featuring the bearded and bespectacled Richard Gere. Many know the story of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and this part is essential when regarding the plot. My qualm is that it feels almost tacked on as an afterthought, trotting outside the clear themed borders that the film has laid out so meticulously. This only adds to the ballooning length of the film, and so did begin to drag during these Wild-western plot points. That said, this hardly takes away from an experience that is both visceral and enlightening. Comedic and pensive. Wild and tender. A life, in all possible senses of the word.9/10

  • sig-amedeo-battaglia
    sig amedeo battaglia

    Haynes’ adventurous biopic of Bob Dylan, which uses six actors of both sexes and several races ranging in ages from 11 to 50, is both exhausting and fun to watch. It’s also hard to describe. But let’s start with those six and the characters or facets they portray. Arthur (Ben Whishaw) is the Dylan who incarnated Rimbaud and serves as a kind of narrator whom we see smoking and giving ironic answers to some kind of inquisition sporadically throughout the film. Woody (the wonderful young Marcus Carl Franklin, an amazing a singer and actor) is a precocious rail-hopper with a guitar (labeled like the real Woody’s, THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS) and tall tales that start with his claim that he’s Woody Guthrie. Woody’s scenes show him rescued by a black family and a white family and performing with country black musicals. He represents the early shape-shifting Dylan in search of an identity and telling a lot of lies along the way.Jack (Christian Bale) is the Dylan who became a hit in Greenwich Village and went into the South and sang “The Ballad of Hattie Carroll” and other protest “folk songs,”—the high-profile “political” Dylan who spearheaded a movement and became famous with his brilliant early LP’s. But Jack doesn’t want to be typecast and “betrays” his adoring public and his lover and folksinging champion Alice (Julianne Moore), a Joan Baez stand-in seen in later “interviews.” Jack disappears and his place is taken by Robbie (Heath Ledger), a young actor in New York who becomes famous for starring in a 1965 film depicting the vanished Jack. Robbie meets Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in a Village coffee shop and falls in love, and a turbulent ten-year marriage follows, winding up painfully at the time of the Vietnam War’s end.If Jack represents the cast-off early style and Robbie represents Dylan’s family life, Jude (Cate Blanchett) is Dylan the artist, quintessentially as seen in the mid-to-late Sixties when he toured England (an event notably chronicled by two Leacock-Pennebaker documentaries)—and shocked his audiences, some of whose members felt betrayed and shouted “Judas!”, when he shifted from solo guitar and harmonica to more personal songs with loud rock accompaniment. Jude’s segments are partly borrowed from Pennebaker, but largely consist of gorgeous black and white scenes deliberately and “churlishly” (Haynes’ word) imitative of Fellini’s 8 ½.Jude’s new style is admired by Allen Ginsberg (David Cross) and underground groupie Coco Rivington (Michelle Williams) and he becomes internationally famous. But he continues to be misunderstood by the protest music old guard and conventional journalists like the British TV host Mr. Jones (Bruce Greenwood)—who’s incorporated into a music video for Highway 61 Revisited’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”: “. . .something is happening here /And you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones.” . .Jude and Arthur articulate the early Dylan’s challenging, ironic stance to the public, but Jude is exhausted on tour and his nihilism leads him to an existential crisis.He’s reborn symbolically in Pastor John (Christian Bale again), who’s moved to Stockton twenty years later and become a born-again preacher, singing his own gospel songs. Finally the last version of Dylan appears in Billy (Richard Gere), in full retreat from the world—till threats to destroy his town of Riddle cause him to enter public life again. This sequence evokes a Sixties historical western in which Pat Garrett (Bruce Greenwood) is a character.This is only the barest outline of the two-and-a-quarter-hour film, in which various “Dylan’s” are woven in and out. Maybe the reason why I found Woody’s sequences delightful and Billy’s colorful but wearying has to do with the latter’s coming two hours later. But Gere and his sequences evoke Dylan less well and are puzzling to interpret. Blanchett’s in contrast are, of course, the most conventionally straightforward. She’s the only one who successfully mimics the physical appearance and the speaking voice of the artist (unless Whishaw does a better job with the voice). But Blanchett’s mimicry is intentionally undercut (and the biopic conventionality of films like Ray avoided) by having Jude be played by a woman—which was planned by Haynes in his screenplay before he even chose his actor.The method Haynes has chosen avoids cliché. This is still a biopic, but it’s a sophisticated one; and the fractured portrait is well justified by the nature of its subject. Dylan has always been a shape-shifter; some of his permutations were left out, such as the period of the orthodox Jew and JDL supporter. But it’s intelligent to see Dylan the man, the husband, the artist, the political being, and the religious being as completely separate entities because no simple biopic sequence can really dramatize the complexity of such an artist and such a protean existence. Haynes’ film makes you think about biography itself, as well as giving imaginative shape to aspects of Bob Dylan no non-fiction account can really provide.Maybe it’s the daringly experimental methodology that led Dylan himself, approached through his eldest son Jesse,to grant Haynes both the musical rights and the biographical rights. Haynes has chosen a multifaceted and original way of using Dylan’s songs. Only Franklin actually performs them with his own voice. Otherwise the soundtrack mixes original Dylan recordings with existing covers, new ones by people as widely various as Ritche Havens, Iggy Pop, John Doe and Sonic Youth, and other music, including, appropriately for the 8 ½- esquire sequences, Nino Rota. There is a voice-over narration by Kris Kristofferson. Haynes worked on the screenplay for years, and then collaborated with Oren Moverman.Not for mainstream audiences or be prime Oscar bait, but a challenging, fun watch. Shown in the press screenings of the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center 2007. Haynes was present fort a Q&A afterward with J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, which revealed that the director is an intelligent and articulate man and who knows his Dylan.