Blonde ★★★★

Dominik caps off his unofficial trilogy of forming interweaving thematic tapestries of myth, celebrity and identity. Chopper is about Australian celebrity criminal culture and how we (as Aussies) have always propagated violent outlaws into being heroes in the public consciousness. Jesse James is about deconstructing the classic American mythical Western figure and how even though people obsess over your image, you can still be a lonely figure. Blonde is about the way the general populous perceives as well as shapes identities from a public perspective, causing one to have to hide their true, broken and destructed self on a public level. 

This feels more prescient than ever considering the nature of how fandom is propagated on social media, turning our artistic heroes into beloved deities over human beings. We see people fawning at celebrities online, complimenting how hot they are, how special they are and how much they mean to them. This places the celebrity on a level to where they are judged wherever they go. And yet, we—the general populous—will never know the celebrities that we fawn over daily. We have never crossed their mind, they instead have their own interior lives to worry about. Celebrity is living with an image that is constantly managed and curated, both physically and emotionally. Marilyn was a person forced to be an image of sexual desire, she had to BE desire. She is a spectre, an image in the public eye—but not a person. She is this otherworldly, divine being (Cave and Ellis’s dreamy, spacey score only adds to this). Her public, movie star identity is shaped by others, much like Chopper and Jesse James. Her true identity as Norma is one of longing for connection she cannot have. Fame does not fill the hole of loss.

A journalist who hated this film questioned Dominik as to why he didn’t include more of Marilyn’s happiness and life beats such as setting up her own production company. While an understandable question, it would completely go against Dominik’s mission by contorting this into your simple Marilyn biopic. It is a statement in the Dominik oeuvre overall, concerned solely with the interweaving themes he’s showed interest in over his filmography. He never wants you feel good after one of his films. They are bleak, hollow, soul-sucking. You are supposed to feel yucky and confronted. I understand why it’s making people feel disgusted, but this is a filmmaker who is uncompromising in his mission.

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