In 2021, journalist Adam Server published a chronicle of the Trump administration titled "Atrocities Are the Key". The label could do better with writer-director Andrew Dominik's Blonde, a vicious attack on movie legend Marilyn Monroe that could force Bernie Tobin to add another house to Candle in the Wind.
Ugly, sad and violent, "Blonde" is not a celebration, but a mutilation of a 60-year-old dead icon whose life was traumatic enough without Dominic's touch to the fragile presence of Norma Jean Baker. Instead of admitting he is a survivor, Dominic only sees himself as a victim, so desperate for love that he sacrifices Norma Jean to the fictional character Marilyn Monroe. It made him a star loved by millions around the world, but it was a Faustian deal to destroy the delusional little girl who trembled under his creation's sexy, confident, and beautiful alter ego. But is that all?
Dominic seems to think so, taking a cue from Joyce Carol Oates, whose original 1999 novel Blonde predated the #MeToo movement by nearly 20 years. In it, she uses impressionistic assumptions to create a surreal vision of how Norma Jean sees not only Marilyn but also her supporters, from rapacious scientists to lovers who failed to grasp her outward beauty without recognizing her intelligence and talent. . This came as no surprise to Monroe fans. Dominic knows this, which is probably why he joins the boring pack of wolves left over from the still-burning star.
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By emphasizing meaning over sympathy, Dominic ("he kills them softly") rejects Marilyn's useful imitation of Ana de Armas. I say "personalization" because that's essentially what Marilyn Monroe was in her portrayal of not being able to capture essence and essence. It was very difficult to choose a Spanish actor for this role, but it was not so much the depth of the character that he played that bothered me. It's almost a footnote, as Norma Jean has fallen victim to the Hollywood machine time and time again. Oh my god this is original!
The story goes on
Norma Jean's only attempt to get inside is a lame plot that sends her forever in search of the "father" she never knew. According to "Blonde", it was his driving force, his mission and his failure. Theoretically, this is an interesting approach. But on the screen, cheap and tasteless, he captured a pathetic void depicting rape, humiliation, psychological and physical abuse. According to Ruriya, there was not a single joy in front of this poor woman; Only sadness and self-hatred.
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She rejects the surrogate "parents" that run through her life, including husbands Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale) and Arthur Miller (Adrian Brody); JFK (Caspar Phillipson); The preferred friends are Charlie Chaplin Jr. (Xavier Samuel) and Edward J. Robinson Jr. (Evan Williams). The last two offer Dominic the opportunity to show Armas naked, probably because he has nothing else to show us.
Still, he's a compelling choice for the role and does well with the little he's had to work with. As young Lily Fisher, we explore Norma Jean's tormented childhood under the yoke of her mentally unstable mother, Gladys, played by Julianne Nicholson. But once again, Dominic is shocked (mother tries to drown Norma Jean in the bath) in the spotlight. Instead of exploring the burden of fatherhood in Depression-era Los Angeles, the film opted to turn Gladys into a monster.
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Everything is very simple. And at a calm 166 minutes, "Blonde" is a little poignant, despite being beautifully shot in black and white and color, with cinematographer Chase Irvine (BlacKKK) delivering from many angles of the screen. Dominik said his signature 1950s movie look was achieved by creating an aura inspired by famous photographs and footage, including the infamous skirt flapping scene in The Seven Year Itch.
He is undeniably moody and, despite the film's many shortcomings, he rarely gets bored. Damn until you reach the end. But there's no escaping the fact that, like Norma Jane's natural auburn locks, much of the "blonde" color is bleached to the roots.
Rating: NC-17 for some sexual content.
Cast: Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Evan Williams, Xavier Samuel, Julian Nicholson, Dan Butler
Directed by: Andrea Domenico
Writer: Andrew Dominic, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.
Duration: 166 minutes
Where: Opens September 23 at Landmark Kendall Square and September 28 on Netflix.
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This article first appeared in The Patriot Ledger: Movie: "Blonde" is the "sinister" story of the tragic life of Marilyn Monroe.