Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Don Of Ladies, The Jon Of Habit

After a rather long week I finally got around to seeing Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first feature-length directorial attempt.
And I was impressed. Now it's not a perfect movie, but there are enough of the right things to inspire confidence in future endeavors.

First, let's consider, the budget was only $6 million. For that price, JGL got a bargain from a practically all-star cast. Himself, Scarlett Jo, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza (whom I haven't seen in anything since my childhood), Glenne Headly, and Brie Larson... with cameos from Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, Meagan Good, and Cuba Gooding Jr? That sounds like at least a $24 million affair to me.
The limited sets and shots certainly went a long way in contributing to the cheapness of that budget, though what's nice about this film is the repetitive view of Jon's world is pretty much a necessity in getting the point across. For any human being stuck in habit, it can become difficult to realize your surroundings have been the same each and every day. So many times, people don't step out of their security blankets... their home, their car, their gym, their church, their club... sound familiar?

What Don Jon manages to explore so well is that belief that in our lives everything has purpose, so we fill meaningless locations and activities (porn, romance movies, looks, one night stands, football) with memories and focus and more focus. But we continually miss out on the bigger picture. We miss out on the connection. We work so hard to fill these things, that we sometimes forget we ourselves must be filled... and the only way we can hope to receive that same satisfaction is from another. Someone else must be allowed to see us and be with us. Jon seemingly searches all movie long for this and watches as others around him miss the same cues he does.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows a lot of promise with his first outing. He came up with a concept that was easily shootable but managed to pack it with a very solid and surprisingly intriguing message. And clearly everyone wanted to work with him. For those and a few other reasons I would probably recommend this movie. At the very least, give it a chance when it comes to netflix or whatever service you're using by then.

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