Is the controversial Netflix movie inspired by Marilyn Monroe worth it?

The trailer for “Blonde” (2022) directed by Andrew Dominik.

Before the premiere of his film.which took almost 20 years to design, New Zealand director Andrew Dominik (The assassination of Jesse James by the cowardly Robert Ford, once again with feeling)definite Blond like “Citizen Kane and Raging Bull had a daughter.” However, it would be more accurate say that this feature film of almost three hours follows in the footsteps of David Lynch Mulholland Drive (2001) or by Paul Verhoeven showgirls (1995), by evoking apocalypse now (1979) in some of the nightmare scenes. But does it measure up to these masterpieces?

The false biopic based on the mythical bestseller Blond written by the American Joyce Carol Oates offers a romantic vision of the life of the great Marilyn Monroe. Above all, it is presented as a criticism of Hollywood, the world of entertainment and patriarchy, at the risk of erasing key moments in the life and career of the star. Starring Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas (James Bond: No Time To Die, Blade Runner 2049) in the title role, the film strives to portray a woman who is in a constant state of abuse. First by her mother, who repeatedly assaults her little girl, then by men who work in the film, literature or sports industries, and finally, in politics.

This dark and baroque film, which was presented at the last Venice Film Festival, is prohibited for children under the age of 18 as it features realistic sex scenes and shocking scenes of physical and psychological violence. Between these raw shots, sometimes shot as monstrosities worthy of a horror movie, or as an arthouse feature film, audiences can glimpse Marilyn Monroe during an audition, trying to earn respect as an actress. She can also be seen reciting metaphysical verses or crying for her fate in some other poetic moments. However, we never actually see the star playing major roles or multiplying takes on set, in short, doing her job.


Anne of Arms in "Blond" (2022)

Ana de Armas in ‘Blonde’ (2022)

The innocence and evanescent charm of the icon are well portrayed. There is the fair representation of a fragile woman, who never knew her father, suffered her mother’s madness, wanted at all costs to be loved and have a child. But where is the incandescent idol that shone in movies like some like it hot (1959), or did he seek to hone his acting skills? What about the woman on the left who loved to read, educate herself, or throw herself into psychoanalysis? The many layers of the complex, resilient and exciting personality of Marilyn Monroe, aka Norma Jean Baker, are glossed over in favor of deception with adventurous camera moves and sound effects that play on noise, music and silence. .

Ana de Armas and Andrew Dominik chose to defend a version of the Marilyn Monroe myth that portrays her as a naïve child who is constantly victimized and hurt. like a lost Bambi caught in the headlights of a car. The director wants to denounce the patriarchy and the powerful and manipulative men of the film industry – who evoke prehistoric versions of Weinstein – but he follows the same pattern with his lurid, bawdy and often quite reductive images. He sometimes moves us, especially when he dwells on Norma Jean Baker’s melancholy, loneliness, and search for identity, and also disturbs or feels sensational at times. But the hell Blond it’s not the movie “for all the unloved children of the world” that the director had dreamed of, nor a great feminist and revolutionary work that will make history. It is, above all, the umpteenth masculine fantasy that cultivates the cliché of the beautiful young fool who awaits her savior. Neither the dreamlike and captivating soundtrack composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, nor the aesthetic black and white shots managed to save it from boredom, bad taste and chaos.

“Blonde” (2022) by Andrew Dominik, available on Netflix on September 23.

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