Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Musical Tour of the Idea of Bob Dylan (rated 4 stars)

It’s a bold idea to take the details of Bob Dylan’s life and music and to tell an episodic story with 6 different actors playing different versions of him. That’s what attracted me to the film as I appreciate Dylan’s music, but I’m not a huge fan. What surprised me was how much fun the film was and the skillful way that Todd Haynes was able to blend together the stories and clever allusions to different films and filmmmakers. So while I’m not well-versed in Dylan trivia, the cinematic trivia kept me interested and fascinated as biography, history and music swirled around. There aren’t a lot of biopics that have allusions to Fellini and quote dialogue from Godard.
Of all the Dylans in the film, Cate Blanchett is transcendent as Jude Quinn. When she shows up in the film it’s exciting and electric. Arriving home after the film a biography of Dylan was on the tv and seeing footage of Dylan from the time that Blanchett builds her character around made me think that she did a better job than Dylan himself.
It was a lot of fun and in many ways it’s a better way to explore the ideas and personas of Bob Dylan than a more traditional documentary.

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