Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood's most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, the film boasts a cast led by Ana de Armas and featuring Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Xavier Samuel and Evan Williams.By: Billy Joynt | September 19th, 2022
It is clear right off the bat that not only is Norma Jeane’s existence filled with trauma, so is one’s own viewing of ‘Blonde.’ In this overlong, mysogynsitic depiction of Marilyn Monroe, tackled impressively by Ana de Armas, Andrew Dominik chooses a distinctive perspective in which to frame the actress- and it’s not a pretty one. In trying to stay loyal to the source material, the fictional novel by Joyce Carol Oates, he creates a chaotic trail of images that are supposed to mirror photographs immortalized by The Blonde Bombshell.
The frame oscillates between constantly changing aspect ratios and a black and white or color appearance, and even at times features the actress in key scenes from films she starred in, but the effect leaves your eyes searching for solid ground.
Way before the film was released, its NC-17 rating sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. Other movies that receive such a rating are usually appealed or re-edited in order to obtain an R rating for better widestream appeal. Yet, here it remains, speaking to Dominik’s sole control of a film that Netflix surprisingly had no say. The final product shouldn’t be taken lightly. “Some sexual content” could refer to a number of unclothed moments, but the craftily shot ménage a trois likely isn’t one of them. According to the description, neither is its negative and gory depictions of abortion. Suffice to say that by the time the belittling moment does appear, you’ve already become desensitized to the character’s dehumanization and victimization that it doesn’t feel necessary at all.
To think that Dominik begged to have his four hour cut of this released should make a 166 minute version seem bearable, but it absolutely does not. This perversely nauseating onslaught against Monroe belittles what Ana is doing, even when she disappears behind the persona entirely. Not even certain technical elements, such as the score and art direction, especially in transitions that so fluidly meld scenes, time, and place, have a chance to breathe in this vapid vacuum.
'Blonde' is on Netflix on September 28th, 2022.
Rating: 1.25 out of 5
Billy Joynt (Editor) - Billy has seen many movies over the years. He enjoys comedies and anything action, including the summer blockbuster movies. You can follow Billy on Twitter here.
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