James Dean was quite a character, which means, any actor who would ever consider portraying him must realize that this role perhaps will be the most challenging and risky to get. It’s hard to tell whether Dane DeHaan managed to capture the late legend the way he was. Even after watching Anton Gorbijn’s LIFE, it’s again difficult to judge, maybe because of the beauty of the film that fully covers up the irritating performance of DeHaan as Dean, or an absolute missing connection between Dennis Stok and James Dean. However, whatever it is, LIFE uses the story-telling tool extremely well, and will make you enjoy the film despite the huge miscast, that will leave James Dean fans end up being extremely disappointed.
A photographer for ‘Life Magazine’ is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean and present them for the next issue. But when the photographer meets the legend, they develop a certain connection that allows both of them to step over the work relationship and become good friends. During that moment, James Dean will meet Jake Warner (Ben Kingsley) and will be the part of a huge plan to become history. And his last trip home with Dennis Stock to Indiana which marks Dean’s last trip ever.
Life is not terrible, but meantime, cannot be considered as a great film. However, it has a specific beauty and charisma that will attract your attention to watch it till the end. Other than that, Gorbijn’s film has no emotions, feelings or even a heartbeat that could have transformed his film from average to a memorable one. Robert Pattinson’s Dennis Stock is not that rich a character to use all acting skills he has. He is rather a very quite person, who talks to the viewer only through his camera. Dane DeHaan is an extremely talented actor, however, playing James Dean was certainly a bad idea, then again, he will manage to earn your respect as he tried, and tried very hard but could not succeed.
In conclusion, Life concentrates on the photos taken by Dennis Stock and captures all those moments in the film, which again, appears for us like another day in the office for Stock. But the aim of the film was to capture the connection between the photographer and the actor, but unfortunately, that will stay behind the camera, which is the most unfortunate part of the film. Despite all those issues, Gorbijn’s film deserves attention, at least to see it once, which again is up to you whether you want to or not.