Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
Don Jon is a very fun, entertaining and fast-paced film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has made a promising debut, with this suggesting that he wants to make visually vibrant, exciting films that attempt to say something regarding human behaviour and connectivity. What is immediately striking about the film is its flashiness, with it possible to suggest that it is the sign of a first time filmmaker overcompensating and eager to impress. However this isn’t a case of style over substance, with the style instead reflecting the insubstantial nature of the protagonist and the life he leads. Gordon-Levitt composes multiple montages, which he frequently repeats over the course of the film in order to at first establish the nature of this man’s life and later to visually display how it has changed. Over the course of the film it visually calms down and almost ‘matures’ reflecting the journey of the lead character. These sequences also guarantee that anybody who has seen this film will now think of pornography whenever they hear the sound of a MacBook turning on…
What is perhaps more telling and important regarding Gordon-Levitt’s directorial ability however, are the performances he gets out of his actors. Gordon-Levitt doesn’t just give one of his best performances but so does Scarlett Johansson, who is clearly having fun with her role. These characters do start off as comedic caricatures, however they are all ultimately given a bit more to play with. Julianne Moore in particular is perhaps given the most substantial material to work with, and while her character and relationship with others isn’t quite as believable and developed as it could have been, Moore has the experience and ability to sell what others actresses perhaps couldn’t. Therefore while you may not entirely buy it due to a lack of the right development, the performances mean that you don’t object to it. Brie Larson, who was stunning in this year’s Short Term 12 and is a future star is sadly under-utilized in her role here. She serves an important thematic purpose and has one crucial line of dialogue however, it does seem like a waste of her talents to have her play a role that really anybody could have played.
Don Jon is quite predictable and for many where it ultimately goes may not be entirely believable. Also despite it having something to say regarding addiction, objectification and connection, there is a deeper, darker version of this film out there, meaning that some claims of superficiality and shallowness are not to be disregarded. However the film makes a conscious decision to go for a lighter, more comedic approach and succeeds in its aims. Therefore whilst once could call it shallow, predictable and unbelievable, I personally found it thoughtful, fun and engaging. This is an above average romantic comedy that has visual prowess, strong performances and doesn’t shy away from taking contemporaries to task and shining a light on human behaviour and interactions that mainstream films of this sort have failed to do.
Overall Don Jon is a fun, fast-paced film that is well acted and suggests that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a bright future behind the camera. Whilst not without its flaws, you’d struggle to find an edgier, more entertaining romantic-comedy this year and along with films such as Fruitvale Station and This is the End, is an incredibly confident, accomplished and promising directorial debut.
Movie Parliament Rating: MINORITY GOVERNMENT
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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