Anton Corbijn’s Life is a fascinating biographical drama about the legendary actor James Dean, who became an overnight sensation after his performance in East of Eden.
James (Dane DeHaan) is far from happy; being famous has made him lonelier than ever, and he hates doing publicity work. He meets freelance photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) at a director’s party, and on a whim invites him for coffee the next day.
Dennis himself is sick of taking photos on red carpets and film sets, and wants to make a name for himself. Intrigued by James’ unexpected charm, he decides that a photo essay about the actor would make his career. But James’ flighty nature makes the project a huge risk, and his easy success soon gets on Dennis’ nerves.
Both DeHaan and Pattinson are brilliant: DeHaan conveying a haunted quality behind his carefree allure, and Pattinson stays true to his character’s unlikeable manner while still getting the audience to connect with his struggles. A well-written script brings out the tension and depth of their friendship.
At its core, Life is about ambition; an honest snapshot of two souls trying to find their way through what life has thrown at them.