I'm Still Here (4 stars)

I'm Still Here

(15) 107min

When Joaquin Phoenix announced that he was retiring as an actor to become a rap star and that his attempts to change career would be filmed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck, sceptics immediately screamed hoax, which Affleck has now admitted it was. The duo tell the joke with a straight face, and it is this that makes I’m Still Here such a brilliant, subversive production, reminiscent of Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop. Starting in 2008 just before Phoenix announces his retirement, it takes us through the next 12 months of failed musical performances; a seemingly career-ending non-performance on Letterman; and a dependency on drugs and hookers for kicks. The plot, if you will, involves Phoenix trying to arrange to meet music producer and rap star Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs in the hope that the name-changing star will produce his debut record. This comic portrait of Phoenix’s lost year ironically manages to raise some serious questions about fame and the media obsession with celebrity.

Out now, selected release.

I'm Still Here

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 1h 47min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Casey Affleck
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Antony Langdon, Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs

Much-hyped is-it-real-or-not documentary charting the supposed breakdown of actor Joaquin Phoenix and his subsequent attempts to pursue a career as a hip hop artist (including that apparently career-ending appearance on Letterman) filmed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. Having just been revealed as an extremely…