So, Mina, you explain right off the bat that you (wrongheadedly) hate Bob Dylan and (justifiably) despise pretentious hipster douchebaggery. Man, the review kinda writes itself, huh?
As somebody who’s quite fond of Dylan, I have to say I found a lot to like about I’m Not There. True, the film’s premise, that Dylan is a cipher and the disparate periods of his career and facets of his personality don’t fit together well, is unsatisfying by design. Even so, there’s some rather trenchant insight here, for instance the overt parallel between Dylan’s painfully earnest, kind-of embarrassing folky period and his painfully earnest, big-time embarrassing Christian period. (This despite Christian Bale’s unusually crummy performance.) I also liked how Solondz tried to capture on film the mysterious vortex that is The Basement Tapes in the Richard Gere section and I thought it was downright moving the way Gere finds his(?) old guitar in the boxcar as the train rattles off into the sunset, which is about as perfect a visual summation of the past 15 years of Dylan’s career as one could imagine.
And really, any movie that plays Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again over it’s opening sequence AND has Jim James cover Going to Acapulco is going to have to work awfully hard to make me dislike it.
However I share your Dylan-worshipping friend’s verdict on Solondz as a filmmaker. Julianne Moore or no, Safe is aggravating hipster bullshit of the highest order. Velvet Goldmine had a kick-ass soundtrack, though.