He's Not There
Todd Haynes new biopic of Bob Dylan, “I’m Not There”, debuted Tuesday at the Venice Film Festival to general praise, with critics giving some of the most favorable reviews to actress Cate Blanchett who, along with several other stars (including Heath Ledger, Richard Gere), channels the chameleon-like Mr. Zimmerman during one of the many phases of his career. If the idea of multiple actors playing Dylan is a bit too surreal for you, consider that both D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back and Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home—both excellent documentaries—also had trouble pinning down the changling Dylan. In his long and brilliant career Dylan created and abandoned musical styles, looks, even his voice, captivating or alienating his audience along the way but always taking us into new territory. Whether your favorite Dylan is the political folkie, the electrified rocker, or the perennial bluesman, Haynes, who evokes the glam-rock era in 1998’s Velvet Goldmine, does his best here to capture “Dylan's dilemma of identity, his quest to find creative freedom in the process of shedding his selves….” Apparently Dylan himself gave the film a thumbs up, high praise from one of the few musical icons with a brilliant sense (as demonstrated in his autobiography and Scorsese’s film) of how he helped shape American popular culture.