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Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

“LISTEN TO ME MARLON” My rating: B+

95 minutes | No MPAA rating

Marlon Brando was arguably the greatest film actor of all time. And yet for the last 30 years of his life his motto seems to have been “Don’t send the script. Send the check.”

The widespread take on Brando is that with few exceptions his later career was thrown away on  crap for which he was paid a fortune. Moreover, the contempt he seemed to harbor for his craft bled over into his relations with the press. He was aloof and remote and pretty much a mystery.

This wildly ambitious and unexpected effort from director Stevan Riley and his cowriter, Peter Ettedgui, is based on 200 hours of audio recordings the actor made over the years. Basically Brando had conversations with himself — thus the movie’s title.  The subject matter ranged from his childhood (raised by an alcoholic mother and an abusive father) to his thoughts on acting, the price of fame, and the hollowness of Hollywood.

Though the audio tapes are arranged in roughly chronological order, this film is not strictly autobiographical. The effect is fractured and impressionistic. It helps to have a working knowledge of Brando’s life and work going in.

But the film is overflowing with revelations.

 

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