Life is a slight story about the relationship between 24-year-old unknown James Dean (Dane DeHaan) and Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson), the photographer who took many of the most iconic pictures of the “rebel without a cause” in the mid 50s.
They meet at a party in Hollywood given by Nicholas Ray and Stock makes several abortive attempts to convince the actor to let him take his picture in real-life settings. Everything ultimately comes together on a visit to the farm in Fairmont, Indiana where Dean grew up with his aunt and uncle.
The movie is set in that period in Dean’s life between East Of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause, hitting of his romance with Pier Angeli (he is told at a press conference that she has announced her engagement to the singer Vic Damone) and the studio system in the form of the ruthless Warner Bros. boss Jack Warner (Ben Kingsley).
Otherwise there isn’t much in it, although it looks well and the period settings are convincingly established. Next Wednesday is the 60th anniversary of Dean’s death in a car accident at Cholame, California.
Captive is an unconvincing faith-based thriller about a young drug addict Ashley Smith (Kate Mara) who was taken hostage by a convicted rapist David Nichols (David Oyelowo) when he escaped following his court case in Atlanta, Georgia in 2005.
As recounted in the film, the two central characters established a bond over the seven hours of Ashley’s captivity and she began reading to him from the book The Purpose-Driven Life by evangelical church founder Rick Warren.
Nichols’ escape, at the beginning of the film is expertly handled by veteran director Jerry James, but he such a determined and resourceful killer – he shoots three people – that it is simply impossible to believe in his conversion a few hours later.
The movie concludes with clips from the Oprah Winfrey Show in which Smith and Warren discuss their experiences – and their books.
Also showing this week:
Other releases are Miss You Already (15A), an old-fashioned weepie starring the wonderful Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore in the story of a lifelong friendship which comes fatally under threat when one of the friends is diagnosed with breast cancer. Toni Colette will be our guest on The Picture Show this Saturday, starting at 6pm.
Also out is the genuinely charming Older Than Ireland (PG), a documentary in which Alex Fegan, who made The Irish Pub, interviews 30 centenarians about their lives and experiences; the paint-by-numbers romantic comedy Lessons in Love with Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek; Mia Madre (15A) in which Italian director Nanni Moretti returns to the biographical material of his earlier years in the story of a film director (Margherita Buy) whose mother is dying and her relationship with a sometimes truculent leading man (John Turturro).