Thursday, September 30, 2010
Ben Sachs was totally right on when he wrote that this is an American von Trier film. The moral is essentially conservative (though, like in von Trier, presented through "radical" "content"): the meaninglessness of "personal art" (Joaquin Phoenix's shitty rapping, which comes straight from his character's heart) compared to the meaningfulness of the pettiest piece of popular entertainment (the art he's escaping). This is not a satire of Hollywood -- the film is firmly in the Hollywood camp, and it's certainly the work of two people who believe ardently in "acting" and popular entertainment; in fact, it's an attack on those people (represented by the character Phoenix plays) who think that saying somebody else's words for a living is bullshit and who put faith in the myth of artists as loners. The huckster Diddy plays isn't banking in on Phoenix's celebrity (he couldn't give two shits); he's just willing to take the money of any fool who thinks what he has to say is worthwhile.