I’m Not There: Two-Disc Collector’s Edition

DVD Reviews | May 3rd, 2008

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Starring Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Carl Franklin. David Cross, Julianne Moore, Bruce Greenwood
Written By: Todd Haynes, Oren Moverman
Directed By: Todd Haynes
Studio: Weinstein Company
Buy on Amazon.com link

I literally just started to listen to Bob Dylan’s music this year. I never really liked his music besides “Hurricane” and “Like a Rolling Stone” before. Since I’m into folk music a lot these days, might as well listen to one of the pioneers of folk. I’m Not There is a weird but creatively done film that’s based on the life of Bob Dylan and his songs. The acting is really good and the way it was shot is very interesting, I’m just not sure this type of biopic is for the mainstream.

Even though I’m Not There is inspired on the life of Bob Dylan and his songs, his name is no where to be found in this movie. But just seeing how all the characters look, act and talk like him; you just know this is a Bob Dylan biopic in some shape or form. The movie follows 6 different characters based on Bob Dylan and it almost feels like 6 different movies. But the film is still tied together. The movie starts out with a young black musician named Woody Guthrie who’s a runaway, hitching rides on freight trains. Christian Bale plays Jack Robbins, a young folk hero who later becomes a Pastor. Heath Ledger plays Robbie Clark, the Hollywood actor who plays Jake Robbins in a movie. He also represents the divorced Dylan as well. Cate Blanchett plays Jude Quinn, a famous rock star who’s considered a sellout for not being folk anymore. Something Dylan himself experienced back in the day when he switched to electric guitar. Richard Gere plays the older Dylan, but his name is Billy The Kid and lives in a Wild West town.

I like Bob Dylan’s music but I really don’t know enough about him. I’m not sure this movie cleared anything up about him; it might have made me more confused. While I think the movie is done in a creative way, I’m just not sure many people will like this or follow it if they aren’t a die-hard Dylan fan. I was confused at times and felt the story was all over the place. I liked how different actors played Bob Dylan because the man has been through many phases. I don’t think one actor would be able to pull it off. The notable performance is from Cate Blanchett, who plays the “sellout” Dylan. She really seemed to capture the spirit, attitude and mannerisms of Dylan. I liked the performances from Christian Bale and Heath Ledger as well. Marcus Carl Franklin is a somewhat new actor & musician, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him. He was the only lead actor to sing & perform the songs. One scene I really liked with Marcus was when he was playing on the porch with folk legend Richie Havens. I’m not sure who did the songs when Cate Blanchett sang her songs, but I didn’t like it. I thought the best musical performance was Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Calexico performing “Goin’ To Acapulco” in the Billy The Kid part of the movie. The song was really great and that scene stood out.

The I’m Not There DVD contains 2 discs and has a lot of extras. The first disc has the movie and you can listen to audio commentary with director/co-writer Todd Haynes. Plus you can put on an option to read the lyrics when songs are on the screen. The second disc has all the bonus features on it. You can watch deleted scenes, alternate scenes, audition tapes of Marcus Carl Franklin and Ben Whishaw, cast & crew outtakes, a featurette on the music, a conversation with Todd Haynes and lots more! The featurette on the music was really good, the deleted and alternate scenes weren’t that special. I can’t remember if they included the whole performance of Christian Bale as a pastor, but there’s an extended scene with him playing “Pressing On.” That’s another great song from the movie, and John Doe performs that one. Plus, there’s a video montage tribute to Heath Ledger and it was very moving. It actually almost brought a tear to my eye. Overall, there’s a lot of bonus materials for fans of the movie to watch afterwards.

I’m Not There has a lot of wonderful performances from Blanchett, Bale, Franklin and Heath Ledger. It might be a bit confusing and artsy for my liking, but I think deep down this movie is a good one. I’m just not sure I’d want to watch this film again or not. This doesn’t seem like one of those types of movies. But if you’re a big Bob Dylan fan, you’ll really appreciate this film.

Disc 1:
– Feature Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Todd Haynes
– On-Screen Song Lyrics
– Song Selections
– An Introduction to the Film

Disc 2:
– Deleted Scenes
– Alternate/Extended Scenes
– Outtakes
– Auditions
– A Conversation with Todd Haynes
– Making the Soundtrack
– The Red Carpet Premiere
– Trailer Gallery
– Still Galleries
– Plus a “Dylanography” with Filmography, Discography, Bibliography, Chronology and more

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: Woody Guthrie playing on the porch, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Calexico performing Goin’ To Acapulco
Rating: R
Running Time: 135 minutes
Extras Rating:
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