So here we are, I was one of the few lucky people who saw this movie before the rest of us were told that it was a hoax. So luckily for me, I came out of the cinema and walked down the street with a big smile on my face. I was like “Wow, holy fuck I get this guy!”.
Joaquin Phoenix is an amazing actor and his rise to the top of the heap is where this movie starts. Like Michael Jackson and other famous people like him, his life is a paparazzi’s dream boat, so much so that when it’s shown in fast forward all you see is flashes on epilepsy mode. Unlike the rest of us, his every public move is debated, talked about and followed like only an A list celebrity’s life is. The fans and the media are equally obsessed, they want his photograph, his autograph, a comment, his opinion, his babies? and so much more. This is the life of the modern-day actor in Hollywood today.
And then the moment comes, Joaquin makes the stiff decision to turn his life around, he doesn’t want to be a Hollywood actor anymore. And obviously those around him, his employees, his manager, his agent are in total shock. I mean the guy is giving it all up and wants to start over, keeping it real and seriously setting his sights on making it as a Hip Hop artist.
The journey to free himself sets the film into overdrive. There’s alot of drugs, good times, bad times, drama, tears, hookers, laughter, confusion, self loathing, self obsession, more drugs and the infamous tv appearance on Dave Letterman. All this leads him to the path of self-awareness.
I don’t want to ruin this film for you, because everything is a clue which links to something else. But honestly all I can say is this film presents is the power that only true art can portray. I’M STILL HERE is hands down one of the most precious and amazing films these eyes have ever seen on the big screen. So come with me…
There is a secret strength emenating from within this movie while the process of unwinding the clutches of his former status is taking place. It’s something that many westerners experience in life. You don’t have to be famous to know the process. It’s whether you will actually understand the process which is the ultimate point of this film. If you do that’s cool, but if you don’t then well I don’t know? You need to keep learning?
So this U-turn in Joaquin’s life was filmed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. A fly on the wall documentary of all things good, bad and ugly about a Hollywood star playing the star escaping from the star, turns out to be a work of pure genius. Casey’s part in this film was also up there. What ever they plotted or what ever he followed, I believe they totally took the right road. He gave us the version we all expected in our heads and hearts, he then turned us all over like pancakes on an oiled pan. For a directorial debut he should be commended for this on the highest level. I mean of course Hollywood may not come to the party on this, because the joke is on them. And how would the industry feel if they realised that all their budgets would have to be slashed because film was done? That’s far-fetched I know, but this movie did it for me. It achieved everything to do with making the ultimate connection. So from here on in we will just be playing pretend and continue to bring our fantasies to the big screen (This of course excludes INCEPTION, the other great film of our time). But as a discovery of who we are, warts and all, this movie has triumphed.
I’M STILL HERE was everything it was made out to be and so much more. Whether it was a true story or not, it just feels like a certain weight / veil has been lifted and some of us will walk away from this film feeling like a better model of a human being for it. Unfortunately some will be stuck in the more trivial side of things. They lied, his raps suck, who knows and who doesn’t? bla bla…
So what does true happiness mean to people like us in 2010? We are living in a world where right now it seems like every western human is famous in their own right. So maybe some how we need to take a step back and not take ourselves so seriously, after all there’s 6 billion other people are doing the same thing. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself or those around you. As long as you can accept that there is good in everyone then happiness can be found somewhere inside yourself. Well it’s a good start to a journey in life that is worth taking with a smile. Even if it does offend a few P Diddy’s along the way.
To discredit a work like this as purely a con or hoax and to take away from what has been accomplished here is a cheap shot. This film deserves the highest of praise and should be seen and used as an educational tool for anyone who needs help growing up. I recommend people to go and see this film, own it on dvd, discuss it with your friends and just I don’t know take it in and use it to help you not become an ass.
If you look at the layers within the layers, you will probably see yourself within this film, but when you come back to reality just realise that you are most probably witnessed one of the most important films of this year or maybe even of your life time.
PS: The title I’M STILL HERE comes close to the chorus of an amazing Radiohead song called HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY, the chorus repeats the words I’m not here, this isn’t happening. It could be a direct play on words or maybe I’m high on midnight coffee, but if you listen to that song, it definitely embodies a sense of isolation that one can at times feel within. This film is kinda like a spiritual bridge between the two. The Radiohead song could’ve been an inspiration of sorts? who knows? Am I the only person on earth that made this reference? So far yes.