Life DVD Review
Dane DeHaan makes “Life” worth watching.
“Life” is a biopic about a photographer (Dennis Stock) and an actor you may have heard of (James Dean). The story (which takes place in 1955 prior to the release of “East of Eden” and before James Dean’s rise to stardom) begins by showing us the lives of Dennis and James. Dennis is a talented photographer who is struggling in his personal and professional life. He wants to land a gig for Life magazine by doing a photo story on James Dean. James, meanwhile, is on the verge of becoming a movie star, but he’s decidedly elusive, reluctant, reserved, and emotionally conflicted. Also, he doesn’t have a public image at this time since none of his films have been released yet. The two meet each other at a pivotal time as James can help Dennis advance his career while Dennis can help James become a household name.
“Life” isn’t a very eventful film, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s about specific people in a specific time. It’s a character study about life (as the title suggests) and success. Sure, it’s partially a biopic about James Dean as well, but it only covers a part of life.
What makes “Life” so rewarding isn’t the content, but the performances. Robert Pattinson does a fine job as Dennis (especially when he has scenes with Dane DeHaan), but it’s DeHaan as James Dean that elevates the movie. Not only does he nail the mannerisms and voice tone of Dean, but he really captures the complex, enigmatic nature of the legendary actor. There are times when he even looks like a mirror image of him (especially when you compare the two with the real photographs displayed in the end credits).
Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? Worthy of an A-.
Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? The music and dialogue sounded fine to me.
Extras include separate interviews with Anton Corbijn, Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan and Joel Edgerton. Discussions include photography, how Pattinson became involved with the project, James Dean, and more.
Overall Thoughts: “Life” should be getting more attention if for no other reason than to see Dane DeHaan at work.
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