I'm Not There. (2007)
If you are fond of biopics, you would love this movie since it is a biography of Bob Dylan. If you don't love biopics, you would still love this movie since it is not a conventional biopic where a bunch of people keep talking about how great that man/woman was and what they have done and achieved in their lifetime. I'm Not There is different.
I'm Not There shows six different reincarnations of Bob Dylan: an actor, a folk singer, an electrified troubadour, Rimbaud, Billy the Kid, and Woody Guthrie. They portray various aspects of the life of the legendary Bob Dylan.
Todd Haynes has dealt with this biographic beast in an unique way in that he has not directly named his subject but let 6 different actors of both the sexes and several races, aged from 11 to 50, play Bob Dylan. And that made this 135 minutes movie both exhausting and fun to watch.
From Christian Bale to Ben Whishaw, from Richard Gere to Marcus Carl Franklin, from Heath Ledger to Cate Blanchett, everyone took there turn to outline Dylan's life. Christian Bale plays Jack, who is an instant hit in the Greenwich Village, went South and sang "The Ballad of Hattie Carroll" and other protest folk songs. But Jack doesn't want to be typecast and "betrays" his adoring public and his lover and folksinging champion Alice (Julianne Moore), whose character is eerily similar to Joan Beaz.
Then we have Cate Blanchett playing Jude who depicts Dylan the artiste. Jude's segments are mostly borrowed from Pennebaker and largely consists of colorful black and white scenes deliberately and "churlishly" (as per Haynes' word) imitative of Fellini's 8 1/2. I would leave you to cherish the other characters by yourself, but I must say that I found it quite difficult to understand the character of Richard Gere, who was playing Billy. Billy was quite puzzling to interpret.
But nonetheless, with Dylan's music playing in the background, and a voice-over narrative by Kris Kristofferson, this movie is a treat to watch. And possibly because of this daringly unconventional approach that led Dylan himself, approached through his eldest son Jesse,to grant Haynes both the musical rights and the biographical rights.
I would not quite put it in the shelf which says mainstream movies, cause this is definitely not for mainstream audiences or a prime Oscar bait, but Todd Haynes proved with this picture-on-picture biography that he is an intelligent and articulate man who knows his Dylan well.