Life, film review: Anton Corbijn is more interested in James Dean's look than his psychological make-up

(15) Anton Corbijn, 111 mins. Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Joel Edgerton

Geoffrey Macnab@TheIndyFilm
Saturday 26 September 2015 12:56
Aloof: Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson in Life
Aloof: Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson in Life

Life is a listless biopic that doesn't even try to capture the neurotic intensity of James Dean as a young actor. It tells the story of the 1955 Life magazine photo shoot for which the photographer Dennis Stock shot images of the 24-year-old in New York and then accompanied the star on what turned out to be his last trip home.

The director Anton Corbijn, a photographer himself, is more interested in the look of Dean than in his psychological make-up. Dane DeHaan delivers an appealing but aloof performance as the preening actor. Robert Pattinson's Stock looks as much like a movie star as DeHaan's Dean, but he captures well the idealism and opportunism that drives Dennis to pursue Dean so doggedly.

Yet the film's portrayal of such figures as Nicholas Ray, Elia Kazan, Eartha Kitt and Natalie Wood is sketchy and often grating.

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