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    ‘Blonde’: Andrew Dominik Delivers Boring Trauma Porn Adaptation Without Knowing What He’s Trying To Convey



    Direction: Andrew Dominic. Starring: Ana de Armas, Julianne Nicholson, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale. Certificate 18, 165 minutes

    Let’s forget the diamonds. Let me tell you who isn’t a girl’s best friend: Andrew Dominik, the writer-director of Blonde, a ruthless, boring and excessively long parody of Marilyn Monroe. Throughout its extensive duration, the Hollywood star has fun. Her mother nearly drowned her. She is raped at an audition. They force her to abort her. The fetus that she is about to abort lectures her. A husband she calls “daddy” attacks her. It is no exaggeration to say that she cries in almost every scene. To borrow a phrase, if you can’t deal with Marilyn Monroe as a grown woman in control of her will, you sure don’t deserve to make a nearly three-hour movie about her.

    But Blonde It’s not a bad movie because it’s demeaning, exploitative, and misogynistic, even though it is all of those things. She’s bad because she’s boring, she’s self-satisfied, and she has no idea what she’s trying to say. Based on the sprawling 700-page novel by Joyce Carol Oates, which offers a fictionalized version of Monroe’s life, the script involves the star saying things like “I guess she’s pretty, but she’s not like me” or “I guess she’s pretty.” there is no Norma Jeane, right”. At one point, she declares “Fuck Marilyn, she’s not here!” and she whips out a phone. Perceptive. All she could think of was the Taylor Swift song: “The old Taylor can’t answer the phone now.” This superficial observation, that her fabricated personality of hers might have induced a sense of depersonalization, does not feel revealing or new. would you expect to see Blonde for what it might reveal to us about Monroe’s life, her legacy, or the culture that remains infatuated with her. You won’t find any of these things.

    The film flits between color and black and white scenes, interspersing real events such as her marriages and film roles, with other made-up ones, such as a threesome with the son of Charlie Chaplin and Edward G Robinson Jr. In her portrayal of Monroe, Ana de Arms conveys a tense and nervous energy. She is a deceptively sophisticated portrait, she plays a person who is always playing a part. But she is kept in a place of perpetual nervousness that is exhausting to watch. It was such a demanding performance that in one scene (a bedroom encounter with a president who is obviously JFK), she almost had to deep throat the camera. Julianne Nicholson is eerily disturbing as Monroe’s mentally ill mother, and her husbands Joe Di Maggio and Arthur Miller (referred to in this film as “The Former Athlete” and “The Playwright”), Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody don’t do much outside of being together. in Monroe’s orbit inflicting more misery.

    Movies about the lives of celebrities, of course, don’t have to stick to the conventional biographical narrative. Some of the best didn’t: spencer by Pablo Larraín, through amazing imagined scenes, gave us an intense and artistic psychological portrait of Princess Diana. He made things up to search for a deeper truth, which was what it would have felt like to be her. Its star, Kristen Stewart, described it as “a symphonic poem.” But unfortunately, Blonde It’s just trauma porn.

    If I could catch one thing that I thought the film was exploring, it was the idea of ​​Monroe as a psychic space, a creation that haunted the real person trying to occupy it. We see her in an acting class, losing control, overwhelmed by the feelings that she tries to invoke for her character. After an audition, one of the men who observes her declares that she is “like observing a mental patient, without technique”. His colleague agrees: “You can see why people like that are drawn to acting. Because the actor in the role of him always knows who he is”. Unable to understand her public or private self and unable to forge a solid identity, she is lost and vulnerable.

    Cass Chaplin (Xavier Samuel), Marilyn (De Armas) and Eddy G Robinson Jr. (Evan Williams)

    (Matt Kennedy/Netflix)

    But the psychological pressure of being the most photographed woman in the world is never really invoked. Aside from some meticulously choreographed recreations of movie scenes, some unimaginative paparazzi shots, and a few billboards, Monroe’s world feels hermetically sealed. She is such an isolated figure here that we have no idea of ​​her dizzying celebrity status, her impact on the public, or vice versa. Part of the problem is that the film jumps from her rocky childhood straight to Monroe as a fully formed star. We don’t see her trajectory or even the introduction of a feature so iconic that the movie is named after her: the moment she turned blonde.

    There is something untrue about a film that tries so hard to recreate Monroe’s exterior so faithfully while haunting her interior with no clear ending. Why is this movie so involved in her misery? How do they keep making movies as sordid as this? We all lose our charm in the end, but Blonde I had nothing to lose from the start.

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