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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 09/17/2010

Joaquin Phoenix: A movie critic's take

By Michael O'Sullivan

By now we've probably all heard the news that Joaquin Phoenix hasn't really lost his mind.

As first reported in the New York Times, the documentary "I'm Still Here," directed by Phoenix's brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, isn't really a documentary after all. And the acclaimed actor's highly public breakdown, including a hard-to-watch appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman" early last year, was all part of a two-year-long performance.

The performance is convincing, but he didn't entirely have us fooled. Some things just don't add up. (You mean, besides the "cast list" in the closing credits?) If you haven't seen the movie, or if you have, and you want to go back and look for clues that something's fishy, here's a couple of things to keep an eye or an ear out for:

1) In the film's opening scenes, Phoenix, his face obscured by an oversize hoodie, laments that he doesn't want to "play the character of Joaquin anymore." Then what character is he playing? you might ask. He also says that, when it comes to making movies, he loves everything between the words "action" and "cut." It's the rest of it he hates.

2) A scene in which Phoenix is shown snorting coke off the breast of a naked hooker may be shocking, but it's also kind of cliche. It feels like something from, well, a movie. And not a very good one.

3) Near the end, there's another shocker: In grainy, night-vision footage, Phoenix's disgruntled assistant appears to defecate on his boss' face while the actor is sleeping. Who's shooting this, anyway? And what seems to be a minuscule amount of "excrement" doesn't line up with what another assistant says later when he describes the bed linens as being soiled by "[expletive] everywhere."

See what else you can find.

--Michael O'Sullivan

By Michael O'Sullivan  | September 17, 2010; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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This type of banal attention-seeking behavior should just be ignored.

Posted by: greenplanner | September 17, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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