Directed by former photographer Anton Corbijn, Life is a story all about fellow photographer, Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) who after a chance meeting with a young, up and coming actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) and the relationship the pair strike after a plan to boost both there careers by Stock. This plan culminated with Stocks images of Dean appearing in the iconic 1955 issue of Life magazine.
That’s a promising enough premise right there and it was certainly enough to have my interest. Looking for a peek behind the man who was James Dean I sat down to watch Life and the movie starts off well but sadly after the 111 minute running time I was stuck with the irony of having just watched a movie that was lacking in life.
While Corbjin does a great job of creating a fantastic visually accurate period piece, putting you right back in the fifties, he never takes full advantage of subject material at his disposal, instead glossing over the iconic events unfolding on-screen. We talking about an unknown photographer, going on a journey with a then unknown James Dean, banking on the promise of the shy young actor. That’s surely enough to make a movie that can take a viewer on a euphoric journey – even if based on nostalgia. Instead the movie falls flat and the pacing is sluggish.
As for the performances, Dehaan is competent in his role but never does enough to truly pay homage to The Rebel Without A Cause. Then there’s the fact that DeHaan doesn’t really resemble Dean, but to his credit he does nail the mannerisms. Patterson on the other hand delivers one of his best performances but with the material written by Luke Davies, he is unfortunately unable to fully explore his character.
Overall Life is a decent watch and visually it works well, If you are a fan of James Dean then I would recommend watching this, despite its flaws. Also starring Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley, Life is available on DVD now.
Last Updated: March 3, 2016