Tuesday, 15 December 2015
I'm still here (4 Stars)
In 2009 Joaquin Phoenix, 34 years old at the time, announced that he was giving up acting to follow a career as a hip hop singer. This was to be the subject of a documentary, so cameras followed him day and night for the next 12 months. During this time his health and his physical appearance deteriorated, and he received setbacks from music insiders telling him he didn't have the talent to make it as a singer.
Some of the events were staged, others happened spontaneously, and they are all mixed up together. This is similar to the way that modern reality shows are made. Be honest: does anyone really believe that the Osbournes, Anna Nicole Smith or even Honey Boo Boo behave naturally when a camera is pointing at them?
Joaquin didn't really intend to quit acting, but this wasn't evident at the time. He remained in character throughout the filming, which meant that many people, even news reporters, believed he was really quitting. Very few people were in on the secret that it was just a film. Even David Letterman was fooled when he invited Joaquin Phoenix onto his show.
What was Joaquin Phoenix trying to say with the film? He was making fun of himself, he was mocking reality shows, and he was showing how shallow the music and film industries are. More than anything else, he was making fun of the audiences who watched him live (during that year). He was ridiculing them because they were gullible enough to believe anything.