Translation: Great new #Life review cc: @RPlife @RPaustralia @Pattinson_aw

Emphatic portrait of cult figure James Dean and Dennis Stock, the photographer who portrayed him for Life magazine

When photographer Dennis Stock met the young actor James Dean, the latter had just wrapped „East of Eden“ and was in negotiations with Warner Brothers to take the lead in „Rebel without a Cause“. Stock gained the awkward, shy young man´s trust, spent a few days with him in New York and followed him to his family´s place in rural Indiana. From this period of time originate the most iconic pictures of James Dean: on rainy Times Square, at the farm, with members of his family. Anton Corbijn´s fourth work as a director, hardly a year after his Le Carré adaptation „A Most Wanted Man“, recounts their time together.

“Life” is a movie about young men at a crossroad in a world where they don´t seem to fit; a movie about artistic approach and the hardships and doubts an artist is met with. And on top of that it´s a beautiful movie about show business, en passant handing Ben Kingsley the opportunity for a smashing performance as Jack Warner.

But of course this movie indeed belongs to its young stars Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan, charged with the impossible task to breathe life into two icons. Both do splendidly, and one must salute Dane DeHaan especially: the way he finds Dean´s inner turmoil and makes the audience forget that he is not the real Dean, is in parts downright fantastic.

What makes the cool-artistic looking movie really interesting though, is he director´s mindset. At the beginning of his career as one of the most established contemporary photographers Corbijn had a lightbulb moment similar to Stock´s, when, in late 70ies London, he met and portrayed the then unknown band Joy Division and their lead singer Ian Curtis, who took his own life only shortly after. His photo of the band in a London tube station was for Corbijn what the pictures of Dean taken for Life Magazine were for Dennis Stock: a turning point.
So Corbijn narrating the story of an insecure photographer in search of his own voice means essentially baring a lot of himself and, mixed with the images of this very authentic movie, this makes for a thrilling experience.
After “Life” had its world premiere at this year´s Berlinale, critics put their heads together, unanimously stating that this beautiful movie should have been the festival´s opening film.

Source: Blickpunkt:Film (only for registered accounts)

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