Don Jon (R)

9 Stars

Generally speaking, Sundance is not my gig.

Call me shallow, but I incline toward major motion pictures, or feature films.

I rarely watch documentaries or independents.

And I thought a movie about a guy addicted to pornography sounded gross and off-putting. But I should have known; Jo-Go would never let me down.

Don Jon’s a winner.

The narrative is timely, stylish and thought-provoking. It moves along at a brisk, enjoyable pace with a cast of relatable and compelling characters. Starring, written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who’s been one of my favorites for years) this movie depicts a regular guy, dealing with regular issues. And it’s great!

This is not the type of movie you watch with your girlfriend, your parents or your grandparents. Or your grandkids, for that matter.

It’s almost cheating with the casting choices made for this film. Scarlett Johansson’s one of the top actresses working today, Tony Danza was such a radical (but perfect) choice to play his father, and Julianne Moore is great as always.

First of all, Scarlett’s role as Barbara Sugarman, is nothing short of fantastic. It really explores the mindset of a certain type of woman. She’s so aware of her sexiness that she truly believes she inhabits a higher class of humanity.

It’s been a helluva year for Scarlett. Let’s hope she keeps it up!

The stylistic touches are probably what make the movie soar. Each shot adds to the story, and it keeps the pacing crisp as well.

If you haven’t seen Don Jon, it’s worth the watch. It explores a lot of truths that some may interpret as a misogynistic tone. I applaud Joseph Gordon-Levitt for writing such an honest, cutting edge screenplay.

Now, watch out for spoilers below.

There is one point in the movie that he’s watching porn and is narrating his actions through voiceover. What’s fascinating is it breaks the fourth wall in a subtle way, because Scarlett catches him at that moment. She interrupts the voice-over narration of himself!

It’s a bit of a time paradox if you think about it.

There are bursts of joy at times, when certain events occur in the manner you hope they will. When the stylistic fireworks go off, and pieces start to fall into the right places, you feel a swelling of happiness. And I think that’s noteworthy, given the limited storytelling that’s going on in Don Jon.

I love Acts I and II but didn’t adore the ending.

I’m not sure why. The whole movie skips along at such a brisk pace, but I never really enjoy the time he spends with Julianne Moore. It’s all just so sad and pathetic. But it’s not terrible!

I just found it underwhelming.

That being said,  Don Jon’s enormously insightful, brilliantly shot, masterfully edited, well-acted and just a good story all around.

Good on ya, Joseph Gordon!

Thoughts, perchance?

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