I'm Still Here

Casey Affleck, whose acting has won him an Oscar nomination for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, makes his directing debut with a riveting experiment. It's a speculative documentary about his brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix, who quit movies in 2008 to become the bearded, pudgy rapper JP that David Letterman teased unmercifully on TV. I'm not sure I believed a word of this film. Actors who melt down on camera are usually, well, acting. But I couldn't take my eyes off I'm Still Here. Affleck's provocative, postmodern take on JP as half-joke, half-victim is the damnedest plunge into the dark heart of our "reality" culture since Sacha Baron Cohen invented Borat. My guess is it'll knock you sideways.

From The Archives Issue 1114: September 30, 2010