In 1955, ambitious photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) develops a close bond with James Dean (Dane DeHaan) when he photographs the rising star.
I watched this film because I wanted to watch more of Robert Pattinson’s post-Twilight movies. Also, this is another film recommended to me by my sister so it was certainly worth a viewing.
The film was charming in its own way, while also showing the cutthroat world of 1950s Hollywood where jealousy ensues when your lover is a more successful star than you are, while at the same time being a massive homage to the famous stars of the time. DeHaan was interesting as Dean because to be honest he isn’t really the person I would have personally seen to portray Dean. However, over all his characterization was interesting, full of impulsiveness and vulnerability and a bumbling vagueness which belies an inner sadness of a person who never really belongs but is really good at playing a part.
Robert Pattinson proved that he has stepped away from the cliched roles which made him famous. In this film, his portrayal of Stock has him as ambitious but trapped by responsibilities to his child and an inner boredom he cannot shake while trying to build his reputation as a photographer.
While good enough as a biopic, it did seem a bit sludgy at times but it didn’t cause the film to waver in any way. DeHaan and Pattinson were both good in their respective roles, but the end intertitles made it feel like it was a True Movies effort or similar. Ultimately, however, its worth watching if you are fan of Classical Hollywood cinema or James Dean himself although don’t go in expecting faultless characterization of the star. That is again another element which is up to individual interpretation. It would certainly have been interesting to have Robert Pattinson portraying James Dean…
MY RATING: *** / *****