You got that Dane DeHaan as James Dean look in your eye | Film Review: Life (2015)

Last week, instead of preparing for my thesis progress report, I watched Life, the 2015 movie starring Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan. Pattinson played Dennis Stock, the photographer who took the iconic photos of James Dean, played by DeHaan, back in the 1950s. I have never heard of Dennis Stock and while I know who James Dean is, it’s more like, oh-that-super-handsome-actor-Taylor-Swift-referenced-in-Style. I haven’t seen any of James Dean’s few movies although I’ve already seen these iconic photos of his. So instinctively, if we were going to be honest, which is my rule here in my blog, I would have never even touched this movie with a ten-feet pole. It’s just that, I’m not really into biography-like films and all that. I’m a fiction girl, I like them made-up stories.

But who do we have here? WE HAVE DANE DEHAAN AND I WATCH ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WITH DANE DEHAAN. Hello, I took a selfie with his poster of Life After Beth outside a fastfood restaurant. I mean:

I did that. If that doesn’t convince you that I’m obsessed with him I’m a fan, then I don’t know what else. So obviously, I watched Life even though I was sure I’d get bored.

But see, I DIDN’T. While I didn’t know how James Dean moved or spoke but I do know that Dane definitely didn’t resemble him, I thought Dane did a fine good job being that rebel James Dean evoked but still having that boyishness to him. He’d go loud one second then real quiet the next. It was like the less psychotic version of his Lucien Carr in Kill Your Darlings and I had fun watching him.

And while Dane DeHaan was amazing (AS ALWAYS HELLO, BB IS GREAT), it was actually Robert Pattinson who took me by surprise. I’ve never seen any of his projects post-Twilight but boy, did he held up his own against Dane DeHaan. In a film where the plot revolves around a photographer convincing one of the icons of that decade to be his subject, it’s easy for the audience to see just the subject in the story. After all, that’s also who we know, James Dean. The director specifically mentioned in his interviews that the film was about Dennis Stock but I thought for sure it’s gonna focus on James Dean. But coupled with the team’s intention of making a film about Dennis Stock and Robert Pattinson’s performance, Life turned out to be really a film about Dennis Stock.

Robert Pattinson was a revelation to me in here. His scenes with his son? HE NAILED IT. He desperately wanted to connect with him but he just can’t. He’s trying but he can’t. The quiet frustration, the determination and passion, he embodied the character. They were a pair, these two.

As for the cinematography, it was the right mix of bleak I always imagined Hollywood behind-the-scenes would be. Who am I kidding, I have to study more technicalities in film making to be able to comment more on the cinematography, editing, and sound. But I thought the film had done a great job in presenting its material.

So that’s my mini word vomit on Life because I like sharing what I think about shows and films even though I’m the only one who cares. Kthxbai.

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