I'm Still Here [Blu-ray] product details page

I'm Still Here [Blu-ray]

I'm Still Here [Blu-ray]
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Reviewer:Derek Armstrong, I'm Still Here is a bold experiment in blurring the lines between documentary and fiction filmmaking, alternately maddening and brilliant. Only viewers who saw it during its theatrical run might have thought it was "real" -- just as a bearded Joaquin Phoenix held a famously disjointed interview with David Letterman on his show, he also famously came back on to explain that his antisocial persona was a hoax, concocted by him and his brother-in-law (Casey Affleck) just for this film. But it may help a viewing of I'm Still Here to know it was fake, because it lets the viewer appreciate just how far the filmmakers went to convincingly approximate reality. Some of this stuff is amazing on a purely technical level; in one scene, a camera follows Phoenix into a club bathroom and appears to show him vomiting in the toilet just inches away, and in another, a scorned assistant videos himself defecating on Phoenix while he's sleeping. One would assume both stunts were fake, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the film. As much as the pure commitment of the participants is worth admiring, there's no doubt I'm Still Here feels like a chore at times. Phoenix' fictitious breakdown is a downward spiral into delusions of grandeur, drug use, sex with prostitutes, and poor hygiene, so watching that character spew venom over the phone in his underwear can certainly get old. For this reason it's a relief that the pace starts to pick up in the second half, when the prospective hip-hop artist plays his music for Sean "Diddy" Combs (who was supposedly in on it), when the famous Letterman appearance actually transpires, and when Phoenix goes totally off the reservation in his quest for spiritual rebirth. There's no doubt I'm Still Here will divide audiences between those who love a good practical joke and those who find Phoenix unforgivably self-indulgent, but everyone should be able to acknowledge the achievement on the level of pure gutsy spectacle. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi