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I’m Still Here

I’m Still Here
Caffeinated Clint

By Alicia Malone

”I’m Still Here” is the documentary on the downfall of Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix, who in 2008 announced he was leaving acting to pursue a career in hip hop. There was much speculation about whether this film was a documentary or a mockumentary; but a recent New York Times interview with director Casey Affleck removed all doubt that there is any reality involved. Even the home movies were faked!

The talented actor is virtually unrecognisable as he mumbles and stumbles his way through the 107 minutes, with shaggy beard, sunglasses, and abused assistants in tow. You see him doing unspeakable things, involved with drugs, prostitutes, rapping on stage to a laughing audience and falling apart after that infamous David Letterman Show appearance.

Viewing ”I’m Still Here” is like watching a car crash, you feel sick at what you are seeing, but it’s hard to look away.

When I saw the film, I didn’t yet know for sure that it was a hoax, but there were a few clues pointing to it. For one, a close look at the credits reveals several actors playing roles of “real people”. For another, I refuse to believe that Casey Affleck would stand on the sidelines and film as his brother-in-law spiralled dangerously out of control. The structure of the movie also feels a little too perfect, too “written”, and then there are the rumours of Phoenix considering a few upcoming film roles.

I do feel a bit cheated by Affleck’s announcement; it would have been better to wait a little longer, and maybe let Phoenix reveal it himself in his September 22 David Letterman interview.

It is a truly brave move, with the actor turning himself into a living performance arts piece, and a repulsive character at that. But as a mockumentary, ”I’m Still Here” is not completely successful with the points it is trying to make about celebrity culture and the excess that goes with it, and leaves the audience feeling like the joke is on them instead of Joaquin.

If you’re focusing on the way ”I’m Still Here” will divide audiences and spark debate, then you could call it a success. But real or fake, I found it uncomfortable to watch, it left me feeling confused and more than a little sad.

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About Caffeinated Clint

Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.

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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

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