27 September 2015 | blackbeanie
"To me the only success, the only greatness, is immortality." (James Dean)
Watching Life feels as if director Anton Corbijn takes his viewers by the hand and sits with them in a circle. Instead of a fairy tale book, he uses an old, well-thumbed magazine,titled Life, from March 1955.
"Many years ago, in fact exactly 60 years ago, there were 2 young men,James and Dennis, totally different from each other but with one common goal: they wanted to become an artist, the former as an actor, the latter as a photographer."
With his amazing talent for everything visually, Corbijn leads you to the fascinating fifties. Men were smoking and drinking while working, women cleaned the houses and teenagers were desperately looking for their identity, their voice. Big cars, tailored suits, small, intimate offices, jazz, blues...it's all there. And there's Hollywood of course, with its glitter and glamour, its matinée idols, its studio's...
Corbijn turns the pages of this magazine while he tells us the story behind the remarkable photos. He's in no hurry, he's not looking for drama or action. He shows us how these 2 young men get to know each other, how they use each other for their own purposes, how they also care for each other. James is a free spirit, a rebel who follows his own rules. Dennis is dealing with a divorce and the responsibility for a little son he barely sees while trying to become more than just a paparazzo. Their time together, in New-York and in Indianapolis, resulted in some of the most famous celebrity pics ever made.
After the publication the photographer built a successful career, the actor...died 6 months later and became a Hollywood legend.
This is Life, the film: beautiful cinematography and amazing performances. People can criticize the lack of similarities between Dane DeHaan and James Dean, or wonder if Rob Pattinson played Dennis Stock the way he was or not. It doesn't matter. Almost no one today has known Dean in real life and almost no one today has known Stock at the time. What matters is the story about the making of these famous photos. His films, together with these photos made Dean immortal (and successful in his opinion).
Casting the biggest teen idol of this century for a film about the biggest teen idol of last century but not in that role was very clever but also kind of risky. Tall and lean, with matinée-idol good looks, Rob Pattinson had to play down his magnetic screen presence so that Dane DeHaan could bring more charisma in his performance of Dean. It was a challenge but both managed to impress in their respective roles.
Sorry for mistakes as English isn't my native language.