Video Review: I’M NOT THERE

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
December 1st, 2007

Thanks to Kevin Simon, Ryan Manchester, Markus Diffee, Micah Newsom, Drew O'Rear, Wicky and Cameron Sanderson for taking the time to help us with this.

Hey Sonic Youth fans, look for Kim Gordon's cameo!

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  • horsebaby

    I haven’t seen it yet, but I think y’all forgot it wasn’t supposed to be a biography or “about” Bob Dylan.

    Gordon – 1
    The Whale – 0

  • ohdearbuttons

    props on this review guys.

  • Tbird

    Why did Chase get impersonated, but not rusty? That made it seem inconsistent, other wise it was really well done, it would have been great if it was consistent in that manner. No worries though, because Micah didn’t even flinch when Dignan barked, what a PRO.

  • Chase Whale

    Watch again! Look for the “Rusty Gordon” tee shirt they are wearing.

  • horsebaby

    Here’s my opinion as a Dylan fanatic:

    If you haven’t been obsessed with Dylan for a long time you’re going to miss out on most of the references. A lot of the dialogue is taken from old interviews and a lot of the scenes assume a mental picture of old concert footage, bootleg films, etc. If you don’t have this background knowledge I imagine that the different characters (and a lot of the movie) would seem somewhat random. They’re not, the movie was just made as an inside joke. At the same time I imagine non-Dylan fans could enjoy it if they go into it pretending they never heard of Dylan and just try and go along for the ride.

    If you do have that background knowledge, then a couple of things are going to happen
    1) You are going to realize how amazing Cate Blanchett’s performance is. In interview scenes and the scenes in the car (which take a lot from old footage) she replicates his movements, gestures, voice intonation, everything almost perfectly. In scenes that don’t directly reference old footage she seems the most studied of all the actors and comes across as a very believable likeness.
    2) You will groan (repeatedly) by how often and how poorly the filmmakers injected song lyrics into the dialogue. It was usually pretty forced and clumsy, and was done just to do it, not because it was good dialogue for the scene. This was not the majority of the film by any means, but it took away from it.

    Overall, the movie is worth seeing because
    -The acting was great and most of the scenes were interesting or entertaining.
    -Specifically, Cate Blanchett’s dedication to the role was impressive. I imagine youtube has a lot of the old interview/non-concert footage that verifies this.
    -The song selection for the soundtrack was very good. All the songs were very fitting to the scenes they were joined with for both non-fan reasons (emotional quality, etc.) and fanatical fan reasons (lyrics referenced, part of career referenced, etc.)

    Overall though, the movie is not worth seeing in the theater because its failures are failures in filmmaking (which inevitably take their toll on the viewer).
    -The direction was mostly decent, but there were many times it got self-important, remembered it was an “art” film, and tried to act accordingly. Moments of self-conscious artiness make you David Lynch before they make a good movie.
    -The writing was inconsistent, fluctuating between good and awful
    -And finally, most importantly, the editing of the movie failed because the pacing of the movie failed.

    I enjoyed it, I think it is worth seeing but by the end I was bored with it. If I see/own it in the future it will be to watch scenes, and not to watch the movie in its entirety.

  • horsebaby

    How could I forget to mention David Cross playing Allen Ginsburg???

    Added bonus for sure.

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