Blonde ★★

Andrew Dominik is not interested in Marilyn Monroe the person as much as he is Marilyn Monroe the symbol; and moreso exactly what it is that she represented to the American public at the time. Which is one way of explaining the complete indifference that Dominik has for the astonishing amount of cruelty on display with regards to everything that Marilyn Monroe went through in her life - and all the supposedly graphic content of the film (emphasis on "supposedly" because I was expecting much worse given the film's NC-17 rating) never really reflect anything of greater substance, because of Dominik's lack of affection towards Monroe.

You'd imagine that a take on Marilyn Monroe's life that were willing to engage with everything she had went through would at least have something more to say, with regards to how Monroe did not want to be the product of an industry that continually objectified her - and yet it was her only way to go around. But to a certain extent, it also can't be helped but felt that Dominik is revelling in much of that, without any care for why circumstances around her have turned into the way that they have. Therein lies another issue at hand, because of where the source material's own views of Monroe are clear as day - and this movie supposedly aims to portray such fictions as biographical, resulting in the objectification of one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Ana de Armas is fantastic when you're talking about how she emulated Monroe for the screen, and at the very least, Andrew Dominik is a compelling image maker - but based on what he's been saying about Monroe within interviews, his own views on her within this film, just seem to amount only to nothing. I think that there's an extent to which some of the more harsh reviews are bordering on extreme, but it's hard enough for me to make out anything conclusive based on the manner to which Dominik wants to frame things - for I understand arguments about this being either cruel or empathetic. To me, it just seems to feel in this weird spot where it doesn't know where to go.

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