Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don Jon Film Review

This September, Joseph Gordon-Levitt publicly released his film, "Don Jon," in which he starred, wrote, and directed.  It offered an original storyline with the talents of Julianne Moore, Scarlett Johannson and Tony Danza. Originally opening at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, "Don Jon" has been successful in box offices and among critics.
The message offered is an interesting one, and JGL takes an edgy route to convey it. Jon (Gordon-Levitt) takes few things in life seriously, one of them is pornography.  He finds that no matter how wonderful being with a woman can be, nothing comes close to the synthetic sex he finds online.  all this changes when he meets Barbara (Johannson).  Convinced he is in love, he takes it slow with her at her request.  She changes him, for what may seem the better, but he soon loses track of himself.  When she finally stays the night, however, she catches him watching porn and freaks out. 
Jon now must figure out what really matters to him.  Julianne Moore presents herself as a new window to his world.  She understands him, and with her unexpected help he discovers living vicariously through porn isn't the same as making love.

Is something easier to come by better than the actual thing, which may take time and effort to achieve?  Going beyond simply love, anything that is easy to obtain can leave your grasp just as easily.

The cast for "Don Jon" is superb.  JGL is an excellent protagonist, and though Johannson's New Jersey accent was nauseating, she fit the role.  Tony Danza, who portrays Jon's father, was hilarious and mercurial in nature, creating an erratic atmosphere.  As far as casting goes, the only change I would make was Julianne Moore.  Although she is a wonderful actress, I felt that she was too old for the role she was cast in, especially as the film progresses.  Perhaps someone ten or fifteen years younger would have been a better fit.  Someone like Emma Stone, or even Zooey Deschanel would be a better candidate for the role.  The concept behind casting her makes sense as the film progresses, but its effectiveness wouldn't have made a difference with a younger actress.  
As cinematography goes, the camera angles were repetitious.  This was important to show how monotonous his everyday life was.  Once Jon's life starting taking twists and turns, the camera work seemed less robotic in nature and more free-flowing and natural.  Overall, it was effective for what was being conveyed.  

Unfortunately, if you had seen the trailer for this film, you essentially saw the entirety of the picture.  Minus the ending, which seemed rushed.  Nevertheless, the ending caught me off guard.  The lack of predictability here makes the film so refreshing.  Up to the last fifteen minutes of "Don Jon," the film became a elongated version of  the theatrical trailer.  If the two-and-a-half minute clip wasn't so revealing, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the film much more.  Witty, smart and laugh-out-loud funny, "Don Jon" is worth the watch, and the trip to the theatre for those JGL fanatics, like myself.

I am confident that this isn't the last we will see from the cinematic renaissance man anytime soon. Supremely talented, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is sure to go places in the world of film, whether he is acting, directing or screenwriting (or all three simultaneously).  For his first film where he balances all three, this is a job well done.  His film company HitRecord was in charge of "Don Jon." Started in 2010, HitRecord works to bring together people passionate about film production and makes films and books.  After the great success of "Don Jon," there is much more to come from this company (at least I hope so)!

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