Action / Biography / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 58%
IMDb Rating 6 10 5691


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January 14, 2016 at 05:04 PM



Joel Edgerton as John Morris
Robert Pattinson as Dennis Stock
Ben Kingsley as Jack Warner
Dane DeHaan as James Dean
720p 1080p
829.92 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 0 / 12
1.7 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 2 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Diand 5 / 10


Potentially this could have been the most interesting work from Anton Corbijn, as he is himself a well-known portrait photographer. The story is about Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Pattison) convincing a reluctant upcoming James Dean (DeHaan) to follow him to make a series of portraits. As you might know, Magnum set new standards in photography and Stock in his famous series contributed to a completely different view on portrait photography of stars: natural setting, confrontational, honest and direct.

During the movie, a bond grows between the two, as Dean turns out to be an atypical Hollywood star ignoring the rules set out by his superiors resulting in several confrontations. Stock largely ignores his duties to his former wife and their child and becomes obsessed by Dean's idiosyncrasy. The second part is the most interesting as it almost deconstructs Dean's life and character: Dean comes from a farmland family of Quakers, likes local poets and is fond of his background and actually despises stardom. Stock is first able to shoot pictures in New York (you probably know the famous photograph) and in Indiana.

So what are the downsides: the pacing is too slow, the editing certainly not perfect and the most important trap: Corbijn as photographer is too much in love with the story, finding details relevant that are actually not that relevant. The question keeps popping up: Why does this matter? Life fails in a way as a mood piece, but is still a relatively good and stable character drama as the deconstruction works well.

Maybe both Pattison and DeHaan are too light to pull this off more convincing, but one role is certainly amazing: Ben Kingsley as Jack Warner is so spot-on you will be remembering the character despite the limited screen time.

Reviewed by Brendan de Vere 7 / 10

A Life lived fast.

James Dean. When we hear that name what do we think of? Youthful icon. Screen legend. Rebellious. Cool. All have been posted to the name of Dean over the decades since his premature death in 1955 but how many of us would mention the words, shy, vulnerable and complicated. The silver screens rising star came out of nowhere, had a fleeting moment in the sun and then as quickly as he appeared, he was lost to us, dying at the eternally youthful age of twenty-four.

There was very little mentioned about the film, 'Life', it just seemed to appear so I was a little unsure about its content. Were the producers trying to tell us something that we didn't know? Putting this aside though, I was still intrigued by a semi-biographical tale of a Hollywood legend whose name has survived the test of time despite only ever starring in three films. After a journey that involved a train excursion and a bus trip, I managed to make it to one of the few theatres that has included 'Life' in their weekly line-up. For a time I thought I was going to be the only person brave enough to see it until a woman walked in and the audience doubled in size and became two.

The first thing that leaps out at me is the quality of the cast. A film that features Ben Kingsley, Robert Pattinson and Joel Edgerton couldn't be that bad but again, perhaps the produces know something that we don't. Anton Corbijn brings a distinguished resume to the directors chair and has been able to deliver a delicate view of a young star who was much more than just the moody, difficult new kid on the block that ruffled the feathers of Hollywood's power players. The audience gets to see a genuinely vulnerable James Dean brought back to life with a stand out performance by the little known Dane DeHaan.

DeHaan's execution of the immortal screen icon was always going to make or break the production. A brave decision for Corbijn to make but an inspired one as DeHaan completely transforms himself into James Dean right down to the 50's stars mumbling vocals and uncomfortable nature. Pattinson portrays Life Magazine photographer, Dennis Stock, who is responsible for capturing Dean in his raw and natural poses that have now become recognisable around the world. Unfortunately Pattinson is totally left in the shadow of DeHaan's portrayal and at times looks out of his depth trying to act as the second lead. Ben Kingsley is absolutely superb as Jack Warner, the head of Warner Brothers Studio who has a difficult time in trying to rein in the rebellious Dean. Edgerton adds a rounded cameo as Stock's boss but all eyes are on DeHaan as he moves from scene to scene totally immersed in his character.

With a set that transports the viewer back to the golden years of Hollywood when studios owned their acting stars and everybody sucked back the soothing smoke from a death stick, the film highlights just how cutthroat the movie making business was and still is. Dean was a prodigious talent but didn't want anything to do with the regimented routines that were thrust upon him by Warner. He felt most comfortable around people he trusted and he felt most at home on the farm in rural Indiana.

This is a good glimpse into the life of an immortal Hollywood icon whose talent could have taken him anywhere.

Reviewed by blackbeanie 9 / 10

"To me the only success, the only greatness, is immortality." (James Dean)

Watching Life feels as if director Anton Corbijn takes his viewers by the hand and sits with them in a circle. Instead of a fairy tale book, he uses an old, well-thumbed magazine,titled Life, from March 1955.

"Many years ago, in fact exactly 60 years ago, there were 2 young men,James and Dennis, totally different from each other but with one common goal: they wanted to become an artist, the former as an actor, the latter as a photographer."

With his amazing talent for everything visually, Corbijn leads you to the fascinating fifties. Men were smoking and drinking while working, women cleaned the houses and teenagers were desperately looking for their identity, their voice. Big cars, tailored suits, small, intimate offices, jazz,'s all there. And there's Hollywood of course, with its glitter and glamour, its matinée idols, its studio's...

Corbijn turns the pages of this magazine while he tells us the story behind the remarkable photos. He's in no hurry, he's not looking for drama or action. He shows us how these 2 young men get to know each other, how they use each other for their own purposes, how they also care for each other. James is a free spirit, a rebel who follows his own rules. Dennis is dealing with a divorce and the responsibility for a little son he barely sees while trying to become more than just a paparazzo. Their time together, in New-York and in Indianapolis, resulted in some of the most famous celebrity pics ever made.

After the publication the photographer built a successful career, the actor...died 6 months later and became a Hollywood legend.

This is Life, the film: beautiful cinematography and amazing performances. People can criticize the lack of similarities between Dane DeHaan and James Dean, or wonder if Rob Pattinson played Dennis Stock the way he was or not. It doesn't matter. Almost no one today has known Dean in real life and almost no one today has known Stock at the time. What matters is the story about the making of these famous photos. His films, together with these photos made Dean immortal (and successful in his opinion).

Casting the biggest teen idol of this century for a film about the biggest teen idol of last century but not in that role was very clever but also kind of risky. Tall and lean, with matinée-idol good looks, Rob Pattinson had to play down his magnetic screen presence so that Dane DeHaan could bring more charisma in his performance of Dean. It was a challenge but both managed to impress in their respective roles.

Sorry for mistakes as English isn't my native language.

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