This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

As a film about trauma, Fire Walk With Me works because Lynch’s camera is uncompromising yet sensitive and empathetic and Sheryl Lee’s harrowing yet ferocious performance as Laura Palmer brings the film to life. Lynch never looks upon Laura with an exploitative gaze once, the film is about her trauma but it’s never just her trauma.

Blonde clearly takes inspiration from Lynch’s surreal directorial style. The score at times oddly similar to Baldametti’s score for Twin Peaks. The comparisons aren’t necessarily unfounded, and if this is a film you can identify with, I’m happy for you. However, there is nothing more revolting than reducing Marilyn Monroe as not a real person, but a fictionalised character, to nothing more than her trauma which is primarily fictionalised.

I’ve seen the arguments during the Blonde discourse, about the subject of the film being Monroe. Monroe may be mythoologicalised, but she was a real person who existed not just within her tragedy but outside it as well. Monroe has always been a brilliant performer, a compassionate soul who has contributed a LOT. While I may understand the rationale of recontextualizing mythology to reveal the darker more sinister undertones of something, it doesn’t help to insert in MORE traumatic experiences and completely disregarding any of her other contributions! If you were really trying to bring attention to the individual under the surface, then focus on those things? 

This is not a matter of deconstruction at this point, it’s essentially trauma porn! Monroe never escapes from the confines of the male gaze and is instead constantly terrorized, guilt-tripped, abused, submissive and forced to be trapped within her own trauma. Is the vision uncompromising? It is! But is it respectful? No it isn’t. In fact, besides pure anguish? Monroe barely has any other moment to truly shine as who she was as a person (the only notable sequence I can recall was her conversation with Miller). 

This is not a problematic narrative but one that didn’t need to exist. Sometimes, problematic ideas or themes in film and literature enhance our understandings and interpretations of the subject. But what I see here is a blatant act of stealing Monroe’s voice and instead supplanting it with a fictionalised one! Instead, Monroe is reduced to a walking, bloated, corpse.

We know that Laura Palmer will die. We know that Monroe will die. But the difference is that, even if death was inevitable, they aren’t defined by their corpses. The primary problem with Blonde is that it’s just a very fucking offensive approach to an icon who deserves more depth, more love, more care than what she got at the end of the day! By dooming Monroe by incessantly reminding the audience that she will die through the various traumatic acts, you essentially are reducing her to her corpse and nothing beyond that.

Perhaps it’s intentional? Maybe! I’m not an unreasonable person! But the point is that this film was not needed! This could be told as a story not about Marilyn in various different ways which probably would have worked. Instead, I could only watch in pure abjection to how Monroe’s body is exploited throughout.

Note: Are there any positives? The cinematography and editing is at times astoundingly good (when I’m not gazing in shock). The theatre basked in red was a great shot or the shot of when Some Like It Hot ends. Ana De Armas is good? I guess? I do like the theme of simulacra? To an extent? But like I wish it was executed better. But at the end, even her works are just treated as though they don’t matter. So frankly, I don’t know anymore!

Note 2: I will also establish that while I ardently resent this movie, I think there is value in it! Only time will tell really, but for now these are just my thoughts on the film as a whole.

Note 3: Its not as pornographic as people said? But it was very fucking exploitative and just in general not fun to watch! It gets worse progressively but yes regardless I’m not a fan.

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