Stars: Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Garret Dillahunt, Sara Paxton | Written and Directed by Andrew Dominik

adrien brody, ana de armas, andrew dominik, blonde, bobby cannavale, garret dillahunt, netflix, review, sara paxton, ‘blonde’ review (netflix)

Blonde reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.

Andrew Dominik‘s Blonde is perhaps the boldest and most daring mainstream movie of the year, even though it’s not really mainstream. It has a nice, big cast filled with tons of huge names and has lots of recognizable talent behind the camera, but it’s one of the most unconventional movies of the entire year.

Dominik’s films are practically known for causing discourse at this point. If you go into one of his films expecting some straightforward, by the book story, then you’re going to be led astray. His latest film – Blonde – is certainly no exception, and it may just be his most daring film to date.

Not only that, but it’s also one of the best movies of the year. It’s a nearly three-hour-long epic that’s incredibly meditative, thrilling, interesting, and genuinely haunting to watch at times. This is currently the only Netflix film to be rated NC-17, and the rating makes perfect sense. Blonde is seriously disturbing.

But it’s also the kind of movie that warrants the rating. It’s a film that’s never afraid to shy away from things. The world of Blonde feels so rich and lively, yet so worn out and grimy. Dominik’s script does an extremely impressive job at putting a different spin on the traditional biopic here.

Obviously, this movie is not going to be for everyone, and that’s completely fine. But if you’re even remotely interested in Marilyn Monroe and her backstory, then you should check this film out. It’s more than likely going to be one of those movies that people will call “boring” because it’s nothing but talking through the entire film. But it’s not an issue because the dialogue here is so sharp.

Picking the right actress to portray the legendary Marilyn Monroe must have also been quite the daunting task, but they certainly chose the perfect fit in Ana de Armas, who delivers one of the best performances of the year. She’s truly Oscar worthy as the famed actress, in a role that demands so much from her.

There’s also Adrien Brody who gets a small but welcomed role in the film as Arthur Miller, and Bobby Cannavale has never been better than he is here in the role of Joe DiMaggio. All of the actors involved in this project seriously put their best foot forward to show just how talented they all are.

It’s also one of the best looking movies of the year, so it would be a huge crime to not mention the legitimately staggering cinematography by Chayse Irvin. All of the shots in Blonde are so captivating; even the scenes in which we’re just watching a group of people taking photographs of Monroe.

Irvin found a way to make nearly every shot tell a story, which is quite difficult to do. Sometimes, you’ll unfortunately end up with a couple of shots that are next to impossible to look interesting, but that is not the case in Blonde. It’s also edited remarkably well by Adam Robinson.

Is this a crowd-pleasing movie? Absolutely not. Most people will probably check out of Blonde thirty minutes in once they realize the kind of movie it really is. But if you’re willing to let Dominik guide you through this wild journey, then you’re going to be in for one heck of a treat.

Blonde is a mesmerizing and staggeringly gripping biographical drama from Andrew Dominik, featuring an all-star performance from Ana de Armas. It’s one of the most impressive films of the year.

****½  4.5/5

Blonde is available to watch now on Netflix.

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