I’m Still Here (4/20/12)

I'm Still HereMovie Ninety One

I’m Still Here is a documentary/mockumentary? about Joaquin Phoenix’s downward spiral, directed by longtime friend and brother-in-law, Casey Affleck.

I’m not even sure where to start with I’m Still Here since it’s hard to draw a line on what is real and what is staged. Supposedly, the entire film is staged but I find that hard to believe. One thing is certain, it destroyed Joaquin Phoenix’s career, at least for a few years.

The plot, if you can call it that, is about Joaquin Phoenix’s decision to quit acting and pursue a terrible rapping career. He also seems to forego personal hygiene and take an accelerated interest in prostitutes and drugs. The downward spiral of an Oscar nominated actor is somewhat interesting to watch and I genuinely thought he had snapped.

Perhaps the best way to summarize I’m Still Here is by showing Phoenix’s interview with David Letterman. We see a clearly disheveled Phoenix, but I also notice he seems to smirk at some of Letterman’s jabs. Is that showing that this is all a ruse? Supposedly, Letterman was in on the gag. Isolated, it seems like this was all an incredibly long and elaborate prank on the celebrity of an individual. Together with the rest of the film, it’s simply a mildly disturbing portrait of the ruination of man.

Assuming I’m Still Here is a mockumentary and the whole thing was an act, it’s actually somewhat brilliant. However, Joaquin Phoenix literally killed his career for 4 years, with no acting credits from 2008 until 2012. Is the benefit of a film like I’m Still Here worth that? Hell no. But I suppose Phoenix knew that going into the project. It’s not Andy Kaufman-esque, it’s just career suicide.

I give it 2 this is what a rapping hobo looks like out of 5.

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