Sometime during the first hour of watching this, I started feeling a distinct sensation of displeasure, and suddenly realized that I've fallen out of love with Joaquin Phoenix, the movie's star.
I used to really like the man. It's not that he appeared in interesting projects only, but he was, you know, really cool.
This unique and expressive face, this strange heaviness he always carried, how the first name is pronounced, the family history, inclination to method acting...
Then he decided he was done with acting. But knowing what one is sick of doesn't mean that one knows what to do instead, so he returned. But the magic was slowly but steadily declining.
He's still good actor but I just can't take any more of his pompousness; how seriously he seems to take himself as a true auteur; how the camera often centers on his face (because we should admire his method acting as close as possible?); the decision to do only "ambitious" roles now...
"Don't Worry..." is a perfect example of how too much of a good thing can be bad.
It actually has a lot of commendable stuff going for it. But the writer-director Gus Van Sant has turned the result into overlong tedious bore which prefers showing Phoenix's bloated mug to everything else, hoping this will mesmerize the viewer for two hours.
On paper, there is an intriguing real-life story of alcoholic seeking redemption and failing even after having a terrible accident because of drinking.
There's also semi-interesting subthread going on about the differences between art and craft - the central hero is a controversial cartoonist - but it's too fleetingly used to really make a mark. As a result, he seems much more annoying and much less inspiration as surely intended.
What's overused, on the other hand, are lazy monologues, sometimes disguised as dialogues. This is what the movie really has in abundance, in addition to the leading man's face.
Also, there's a cool supporting cast including Jonah Hill and Jack Black who have relatively little screen time but turn out to be way more captivating and colorful than the grumpy drunkard at the center of the story.
Hill has never looked cooler on screen, too, like a hipster Jesus. Black, on the other hand, showcases this delicious dynamic energy that his fans may remember from his earlier career, before all these mediocre projects that he has appeared in during 2010's.
To be fair, "Don't Worry's" s failing is not mainly Phoenix's fault. As a filmmaker, Van Sant has often veered dangerously close to getting too artsy for his own good.
This is not even the worst example of his work turning limp and lifeless as a result of it - that honor probably belongs to 2002's "Gerry" - but the situation is bad for sure.
So, I have had enough of Phoenix, and "Don't Worry..." turned out to be my breaking point.
Don't even know how it happened - I usually don't tire of favorites no matter how much similar crap they offer, even Nicolas Cage, Dwayne Johnson, or Adam Sandler.
All in all, I'd advise against seeing this movie. It's tedious and slow, not as smart or funny as the authors probably imagined.
The only project I have really liked after Phoenix's second coming is "Her" which is much less about him being such an amazing genius and relies on good old moviemaking qualities such as intelligent story and deft execution.
I am happy that I don't watch comic book based movies anymore, so I don't have to endure Phoenix as the next Joker when this plan bears fruit.
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