‘Im Still Here’
‘I’m still here’ is compelling and strangely intriguing to watch, but I cant for the life of me understand why. The Documentary which follows the life of respected actor ‘Joaquin Phoenix’, as he retires from acting and decides to become a Hip Hop artist. This film is a surreal and astonishing roller coaster of human hope, imperfection and the ability to grow a Glorious beard.
The film is shot as a Documentary, and directed by Joaquin’s step brother ‘Casey Affleck’. To be honest with you the film is depressing and saddening, and really gives a deep reminder of the crushing pressure that is Failure. The film chronologically shows the downfall and decent of a celebrity, with absolutely no remorse of the media. You can forget that he’s a Millionaire or accomplished actor and celebrity. Just as a human being, one man cant follow his dreams because a media induced onslaught of abuse and ridicule stops him before he’s even begun. Through the film you see how hes put down for ever single thing he does, and how all of the abuse effects his personality until he’s as hateful as everyone around him.
Joaquin Phoenix in my eyes is one of the greatest actor of our time, but unfortunately hes been type casted as this dark sombre man. Just look at his performances in Walk the Line and Gladiator, and you’ll see what I mean. Which is the given reason in the film for his retirement. But the you do feel for the man, because it seems so real with the amateur style of filming and Joaquin’s abilities to make your feel. As well as this Casey Affleck policy of no censoring makes the film even more surreal. Since he has absolutely no problem showing the very lows of his step brother. Whether hes being boo’ed on stage, vomiting profusely into toilets or most surprisingly being shit on by his vengeful assistant. So yes, be prepared for some vulgar and shocking scenes. However its scenes like this that does make you question if the films real or fake, and would Casey actually document the downfall of his own brother.
Through a lot of the film it cuts between real television footage, and shows the media’s perception of his life. You can see how much the media skew and distort the truth just for there own profiteering, and its disheartening at best. To see how far the new corporations stoop just so they can make more money and get an edge on other companies. Yet they have no remorse or resentment for helping ruin a mans life, especially if its a celebrity. I see this documentary as more of a realisation on the perceptions and corruptions of the outside world, rather then the deprivation of a celebrity. Because of there determination to capture every morsel of a celebrities downcast.
This film is depressing to watch, and you sit through it thinking to yourself that he will catch a break. There will be a happy ending, because guys like this aren’t like normal people. But if anything you start to see this Celebrity as more of an equal as the film progresses. Through the film there is a lot of character developments, and you see how all of the events effect Joaquin. As he begins to turn more hateful and lashes out at even his close friend. You see how he resent his choices and where hes is, to a point where he attacks a heckler at one of his shows. Deciding to superman punch his way off of the stage to deal with him personally, bother entertaining offers more realism. Wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were in his position? Then out of nowhere, the film becomes more and more bewildering, especially at the every end. As a mixture of shaking shots, and unexplained walks through creeks. Accompanied with some classical music, gives you a unsatisfactory ending. Your just left wondering the authenticity of all this footage, and unclear if that was actually the ending.
Now there is something you need to know about the film, and if your planning on watching this film then skip this paragraph. The Documentary is a Hoax. There was no way that Joaquin would really quit acting, since he says ”Acting is the biggest part of him”. But if you watch the film and don’t know that its a fake. You will be sucked in and believe the story entirely because of the emotion Joaquin gives off in his performance. The determination of this actor is immense, to shut himself off from the world for months. Turn down scripts and basically make himself a laughing stock. Even in a interview afterwards he says ”At the end of this film, I’m the one who looks like the biggest jerk”. So he purposely made himself look like a jerk to the whole world, and allowed people to make fun of him to push boundaries. That’s why this films so interesting, and why I think its so effective in the end.
I would recommend you watch this film if your into documentaries or obsess over the lives of celebrities. But its not something you wanna put on to brighten your day, because its shows that life doesn’t always have a Silver lining…even for the famous. But it does give a personal and unseen concept, and its has a unique selling point. Its original and interesting to watch, because its never been done and you cant quite figure it out. In the end authenticity doesn’t matter, its the essence of humanity Joaquin portrays. Does it matter if its not his?