Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Not There. (2007)

I'm Not There: The Bob Dylan Movie

- Fans of Bob Dylan will most likely really enjoy I'm Not There (2007) but for those who are not exactly Dylan fanatics.... Well, you might not. While enjoying many of his songs, I am not what one could call a Bob Dylan fanatic. I respect his uniqueness, music pioneering and ability to express himself - I am just not a big fan of his music in general. I am more into melodies and musical atmosphere - Bob Dylan always has something to say and it takes center stage often times, in my opinion, at the expense of melody and atmosphere. However, although I do not particularly like Bob Dylan's music as a whole, I ended up generally liking I'm Not There - though I have a couple of bones to pick.

I'm Not There approaches Bob Dylan through the supposed facets of his life and personality. The many sides of Bob Dylan are only what the film tells you they are however and are shown through different characters: child prodigy, poet, spiritual thinker, superstar, rebel and outlaw. This is an interesting concept, although it is not completely carried out well. You have to come into this film already knowing a little bit about Bob Dylan since the characters are all representations of Dylan's supposed personality and also because the film hops from one character to another and it is easy to get lost in the timeline.

There are positive points to I'm Not There to be sure. Much of the film's cast members are mediocre at best in their roles like Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and Marcus Carl Franklin - but other actors are absolutely fantastic. Ben Whishaw and Christian Bale are both excellent with their Bob Dylan personalities and Cate Blanchett's performance is a sight to behold – altering her voice, look, and mannerisms to be just like Bob Dylan.

The story for the film is so oddball that there better be some interesting pictures to accompany it - thankfully there is. I really liked the way that I'm Not There is filmed as well - both in color and in black-and-white and with great style. There is also a good deal of great and thought-provoking dialogue in I'm Not There. I do not think that the film is as poignant as it thinks it is; however, there is a lot of clever dialogue. So many weird expressions exist throughout the film that are thought provoking on face, making you think if not just by immediately as yourself the question "What the hell did that even mean?"

Because of its off-beat exposition on the supposed multi-faceted personality of Bob Dylan, I think that it would be safe to say that die-hard fans of Bob Dylan are going to deeply dig this movie. However, for the exact same reasons a Dylan fanatic might enjoy the film, this film might not speak to you if Dylan's music does not float your boat or even if you are just a casual Dylan fan. While I would say that I'm Not There is not a perfect film, it did include enough good qualities to leave a generally positive impact on me. Still, if I ever get the urge to want to experience Dylan, I'll just have a listen to "Tangled Up In Blue."

CBC Rating: 6/10

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