The Face of Fame
Daniel Dercksen reviews Life.
If ever you wanted to spend a week with James Dean, the superb Life is an outstanding film that transports us to New York of the 50s when Dean was at the beginning of his career.
Inspired by the true story of a friendship that developed between Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) and actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) when Stock was commissioned to photograph the actor for LIFE magazine in 1955, Australian screenwriter Luke Davies’s heartfelt screenplay is strikingly brought to life by director Anton Corbijn (A Most Wanted Man)
Stock was 26 and old before his time when into his buttoned-down world came fledgling star James Dean, a free spirit who would change popular culture from suits to jeans and from matinee idols to teenage heartthrobs. The assignment for LIFE magazine, which took the pair on a photographic journey across the US, from LA to New York and on to Indiana, would change Stock’s life and produce some of the most iconic images of the age.
Pattinson and DeHaan are perfectly cast and embody the true spirit of their characters, with equally brilliant performances by Ben Kingsley as the enigmatic producer Jack Warner and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) as John Morris.
The film is not just a biopic about Dean’s life, but the heart-warming story of a photographer who desperately wanted to capture the soul of a fledgling star and free spirit who would change popular culture from suits to jeans and from matinee idols to teenage heartthrob.
It’s takes a look at how obsession can blind our ambitions and force us to take a closer look at what really is important in our lives.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed by success or fail to find meaning in life, and it’s on this journey to find answers to the bigger picture that two strangers unite to see the real beauty in life, and finally set themselves free from a prison created by society.
Life is an ideal film for anyone who has ever had a love affair with movies, and also a film for discerning audiences looking for a film that captures the essence of true friendship and how strange encounters can alter our lives.
I am sure that after watching Life, you will delve into the life of Dean, who was truly one of a kind, and explore his films.