We all remember when Joaquin Phoenix visited Letterman in 2008 and seemed completely out of it. This was shortly after the actor announced that he was leaving acting and was going to pursue a hip-hop career. Rumors surfaced that his brother in-law Casey Affleck was actually creating a documentary about the transition in Phoenix’s life and career, which left many of us asking… is this real?
It isn’t real, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less brilliant. It is a mockumentary not a documentary, however watching it you’ll find it’s easy to forget that fact.
I’m Still Here marks the directorial debut for Affleck, and provides a rather startlingly portrayal of a tumultuous year for actor Joaquin Phoenix. Full of symbolism, heavy drug use, and more male nudity than I’ve seen any mainstream film, the film depicts Phoenix retirement from acting and explores the trials and tribulations of making a hip-hop album… and being taken seriously.
Being taken serious seems to be the main obstacle that Phoenix has… that and the fact that his music is really really bad. However, this is what Phoenix wants to do with his life, and he knows to make it in the business he’ll need a top producer to be on-board. Enter Diddy. After finally hooking up with the actor/ rapper/ producer/ fashion designer, Phoenix gets the strong slap of reality. Diddy naturally isn’t going to want his name attached to this music. One of the most comical parts of the film for me was watching Diddy listen to the music. How he kept a straight face.. and whether or not he was in on the fact this was a mockumentary, I don’t know. But it’s a great scene none-the-less.
The random juxtaposer of some of the scenes plus the completely irrelevant scenes inserted in other areas of the film, will actually have you giggling and appreciating this film more than you feel like you probably should. It’s entertaining, comical, and the scary part is it seems real. On the back of the DVD there is a quote from the Film Journal International which calls the film a “cinematic car accident you can’t take your eyes from.” Yeah, I think that sums it up pretty accurately. It’s simply a great watch.
Review By: Emma Loggins