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Andrew Dominik

Blonde – Andrew Dominik (2022)

  • drama

This film has on my watch list for a while, but it is long and I heard it is quite depressive. It is indeed almost three hours long and damn depressive…

The film is based on the “biographical fiction novel” of Joyce Carol Oats about Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as the alter ego that was created for her: Marilyn Monroe. Quickly scanning the Monroe biography on Wikipedia, it is clear that the book, and thus the film, are not to be regarded as a factual biography of Monroe. For example, a big theme in the film is that Monroe never met her father, while in reality she was abducted by him.

We mostly follow Norma Jeane. Norma had a troubled youth with a troubled mother which brought her to a foster home (in reality 12!). Growing up, Norma Jeane tried to make it into the modeling and film business. Her career skyrocketed when (according to the film) her alter ego Marilyn Monroe sex symbol was invented for her. Norma Jeane saw herself separate from Marilyn Monroe.

External pressure leading her to all kinds of bad situations. The separation between Norma Jeane and Marilyn first gets dissociative identity disorder elements and later also paranoia.

Everybody only hears about the glamour around Monroe, the beautiful and sensual woman that everybody loves, but in “Blonde” we mostly see a troubled woman that never grew up, who everybody seems to take advantage of and who slowly looses her mind. The film gets darker and more surreal as Norma Jeane slips away from reality further and further leading towards the inevitable and heart breaking end.

Certainly not a glamour feel good movie and I am not sure how far the gloom and doom really formed part of Monroe’s life. Did Dominik want to present a ‘smack in the face reality’ or did he enhance the darkness for other reasons? Some points may be given for the film and montage itself by the way, with black and white and colour and beautiful camera work.

“Blonde” is a good film, but a hard watch.

Chopper * Andrew Dominik * 2001

Maybe you know the story behind this film, but it is a strange one! Mark “Chopper” Read is an Australian criminal who supposedly killed 19 people, but was never convicted for any of these murders. Still he spent most of his adult life in prison for violence, possession of arms, etc. In jail he wrote 9 books with his ‘memoirs’ which were instant bestsellers and Chopper became some sort of culthero with fanclubs and everything. This film is so to say a compilation of the 9 books with the Australian stand-up comedian Eric Bana as Chopper.
The first thing that you will hear about this film is mostly that it is extremely violent, but still funny. Personally I found the film indeed rather funny, but it is not as violent as some people want you to believe. Also the ‘ear-scene’ isn’t like the one from “True Romance” in my opinion. Actually I find “Chopper” not more violent than other crime-comedies that you can see today.
Anyway, Chopper is a strange and charismatic person who seems not too intelligent but he is definately not stupid either. All through the film he betrays friends for money, drugs or just because they did something to him. The film is strangely cut. On one hand it seems as if the film is told by Chopper to two police officers in a bar, but it can also be told by Chopper to two guards in his prison while they are watching a documentary with an interview about him. The scenes are all through eachother and it is hard to tell what happened first and what happened later. Also it is unclear what is presented as a fact and what is fiction. Indeed a style of filming that we became familiar with, especially in the genre.
Overall I found “Chopper” pretty amusing.