As I was watching I’m Still Here, the Casey Affleck directed documentary about Joaquin Phoenix’s attempt to ditch his acting career to begin a hip-hop career, I was excited to see where this was going to take me.
It starts out real enough. Phoenix has his back to the camera and is wondering aloud about his career. If he is the moody, pensive actor he’s made out to be because that’s what the media said he was or if he was that before the press caught on. He’s been an actor so long that he doesn’t know his real ‘self’. Who is ‘Joaquin Phoenix’ he’s asking?
On top of that, he’s sick of acting. It’s not real – acting; a director tells you where to stand, you’re speaking someone else’s words. He’s sick of it and now he want’s a change.
So, he grows a beard, gains about 30 pounds and wants to put out a hip-hop record.
As the first 20 minutes roll on, I’m trying to figure out if, in fact, this is one big hoax on all of us.It certainley seems real enough at first. But as the movie progresses things seem to get a little staged. There’s an extended scene with a couple of hookers (I’m not sure why it’s there because it doesn’t advance anything in the story… but the nudity was nice) and one scene where someone films himself doing something completely disgusting. I mean completely!
If this is real, I have to question Phoenix’s judgement on some things, namely the amount of drugs he uses in the film. If my brother famously died on a sidewalk from a drug overdose, I would never touch a drug…but thats me.
The story continues as it shows his further decline into a drug and mental haze. It’s actually hard to watch at times. It also shows what happened behind the scenes of his now famous appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. The portion that shows him and Letterman was actually the funniest part of the whole film.
In the end, yeah, it’s a hoax. It’s gotta be. I won’t give anything away but watch the final credits and stay till the very end.You’ll see what I’m talking about.