The short life and career of James Dean has already inspired a veritable cottage industry, including numerous film bios, documentaries and countless tell-alls. Still, the public’s continued fascination with the late screen idol, who died in 1955 at age 24, remains undiminished. Anton Corbijn’s Life is the latest film about Dean (played by Dane DeHaan), and rather than attempt another full-blown biopic the story focuses on the magnetic actor’s close friendship with Life magazine shutterbug Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson). Stock took some of the most iconic photographs of the late star, including many at the Indiana farmhouse where Dean grew up, that were published in the popular publication a few months prior to Dean’s death in an automobile accident in rural California.
The film about the two men premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival this week to a mixed reception. Variety‘s critic writes, “DeHaan and Pattinson enact this anti-romance beautifully, each man quizzically eyeing the other for leads and clues, while coyly retreating from scrutiny.” The Hollywood Reporter states that Pattinson “gives arguably the most fully rounded performance here,” but thinks DeHaan’s take on Dean “seems more studied than inhabited.” IndieWire’s critic adds the film on the whole “feels like a missed opportunity.” Life doesn’t yet have a distributor or release date.
Watch a clip from Life below.