Brief film review: I’m Not There
The film I’m Not There is a mess, a parody of a Greil Marcus fever dream about Dylan, with even more internal inconsistencies than Dylan’s actual life. It may be an honest attempt to get at parts of the Dylan myth, but those parts are only small parts (the past 25 years of that myth aren’t even addressed), and the myth probablybears no relation to Dylan’s real life.
Cate Blanchett’s impersonation of Eat the Document-era Zimmy is audacious and compelling, even if the story of that section is chopped up like ice on a driveway. It makes a certin perverse sense that the most arresting image in the film comes during the stupidest section, the one set in an artificial Old West with Richard Gere as some sort of wacko cross between Dylan and Billy the Kid as portrayed in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Jim James (the singer in My Morning Jacket) sings a slow, pained “Goin’ to Acapulco” on a bandstand, accompanied by a band — and the opened, upright casket of a dead girl (the reference, I think, is to Wisconsin Death Trip). The image makes no sense (like the rest of the film), but it will stay with you (unlike the rest of the film).
(While looking for the above photo of the “Goin’ to Acapulco” performance,” I just found another review that highlights the scene, from the San Marcos Daily Record.)