David Lynch – The Art Life

3 Stars

A dose of inspiration and an art gallery in one.

David Lynch – The Art Life isn’t just for David Lynch fans, but for all creatives. There’s nothing like seeing someone with such passion for their work to get you itching to start new projects yourself.

This Kickstarter-funded film is very much a documentary’s documentary, clocking only 90 minutes in length. I’m sure many know Lynch predominantly for television and film work; but for those who haven’t seen his multimedia paintings and illustrations they are just as wonderfully disturbing and this is worth checking out just for the art alone.

David Lynch - The Art Life

You might think from the darkness he manages to conjure up through his work and art that Lynch was from a broken home or had a traumatic childhood, but this was actually not the case. In fact his life story isn’t especially eventful and perhaps this is why it took so long to be told in the first place. But the spotlight is always brought back to the art life, as Lynch himself describes: art, coffee and cigarettes.

The story ends quite abruptly after we reach the point where Lynch has shot his first feature-length film, Eraserhead. I suppose the die-hard fans whom this is targeted towards already know the rest from that point onwards, but I would still have liked to know his thoughts on how his life changed after he tasted success.

I’m not sure if others will find this as inspiring as I did; it made me want to start up all the creative endeavours I had let slide. But there’s one thing I know for sure: this is one incredibly cool 70-year-old!

David Lynch – The Art Life premieres in Sweden on 14 April.

Jackie

1.5 Stars

For the most part sleep-inducingly boring, Jackie has a few fleeting moments of brilliance.

JFK (Caspar Phillipson) has recently been shot dead, and Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) is recounting recent events to a journalist (Billy Crudup).

jackie1

Limiting the timeline of events to shortly before and after JFK’s death, there is so little story to work with. Perhaps the makers wanted to avoid copying too much from the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys, starring Katie Holmes. However the lack of material brings all focus in on Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy.

jackie2

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie has its good points and bad points. Impersonations aside, she brings her acting chops into play. Especially in one harrowing scene, where Jackie has the heart-wrenching task of wiping her face of the remains from the gunshot that just killed her husband. But convincingly mimicking the former first lady for the full film is beyond her. She manages to get glimpses of Jackie at best. For one she simply doesn’t look enough like her. But it’s the inconsistency of her vocal performance which is the major flaw. Sometimes it sounds remarkably good and sometimes it sounds forced or exaggerated. This makes quite a big difference – rather than being able to forget about the voice and move on, you are constantly reminded that this is Natalie Portman doing her best Jackie Kennedy impression.

The casting department at least did well finding decent lookalikes for JFK and Robert Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard). The costumes and overall feel is also very well done. Unfortunately the bad points outweigh the good by a long way here.

Jackie premieres in Sweden on 3 February.

Snowden

3.5 Stars

Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers in a film that everyone should see.

Snowden is a biopic covering the life of Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
shortly before he joined the CIA, during the time he served as an NSA contractor, and when he broke the story to the world. You see his life as a whole – his experiences at work and how it affected the relationship with his girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley). Many people already know the basics about Edward Snowden but not as many know about his personal life, so to see the full picture is especially interesting.

snowden1

Even though he may not seem outstanding in the trailer (actually, the trailer does not do the film justice at all), Joseph Gordon-Levitt does incredibly well. He is able to mimic Edward Snowden’s voice and mannerisms so well, that after 5-10 minutes of watching you can completely forget that he isn’t the actual Snowden and just sink into what’s going on.

snowden2

Accuracy can be an issue with biographical films. I feel shortchanged if I find out later that the story was fabricated. In this case, Edward Snowden himself has said that the film is “pretty accurate”. There is also the issue of predictability – it isn’t a work of fiction where anything could happen. This is overcome somewhat by the focus on life outside of work – a side which most people are unfamiliar with. Not only that – it’s shot in such a way that even in scenes where you know what happens you can still feel suspense and tension.

snowden3

Most importantly, Snowden brings the issue of online privacy rolling back into focus. We use devices on a daily basis and it’s easy to forget we should be aware of the implications of this. There’s a huge difference in hearing news reports and actually being presented the information in this way. There is a clear and important message here, yet it manages to stay entertaining and enjoyable as a film. I had a similar feeling after seeing ‘Spotlight’ – but even more so, seeing as this affects almost everyone.

snowden4

A certain politician is called to account – and not a politically correct callout by any means. I won’t name who it is because I don’t want to spoil the film, but I will say I respect the director Oliver Stone greatly for not being afraid to show someone popular in an unfavourable light.

Snowden premieres in Sweden on 16 September.