The talented Joseph Gordon –Levitt has made his directorial debut (also writing here) with ‘DON JON’, which he also stars as Jon who finds his ideal lady of Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), only for his addiction to online porn getting in the way of the relationship, along with Barbara’s love of Hollywood romantic comedies and the ‘nuclear’ relationships shown in them films.
To begin with, Levitt direction (using some help from his HitREcord company) has made something very pulp, and strangely very honest about the accounts of online footprints and its effects on relationships, but also consumerism as well. It is rated ‘18’ in the UK and rightly so. Levitt direction does bring some great performances out from its cast. Scarlett Johansson bringing one of her better performances and Julianne Moore brings gravity and nuisance as Jon’s troubled friend. Also watch out for Jon’s family, bringing great synergy and interplay and comedic timing from Brie Larson. Visual the film hits you straight away, some might want the high life of Jon and Barbara to stop with how flashy and ‘’in your face’’ the film is (sound editing too with the Mac opening jingle deafening you and welcome you into Jon’s porn world). But this is the trick though as the film progresses and Julianne Moore comes into to play. Everything seems to gravitate around her presence here the ‘’in your face’’ editing stops, as the film discuss issues about intercourse, how online has changed everything (from people posting provocative images of themselves on social networking to the accessibility of sex). A lot of this reminded me of the 2004 film ‘Kinsley’ in a strange way. It is also a shame the film does seem to rush to end when discussing these issues in depth.
To some, people will not get this, more so the ones who have a very similar online footprint to the ones depicted in this film. This also can be seen with how the term ‘redemption’ is never on its card, stopping it following it falling into usual Hollywood romantic clichés it deconstructs. In way it is very much about objectification with how (if yet very cynically done) it looks at the man and women’s thoughts on a relationship (the film has this argumentative undertone about this running in the background). Either way this is still a very interesting and honest look at sex, relationships, addictions and online consumerism. It doesn’t get under your skin so to speak like ‘Shame’, but it feels prevalent which it will make you think and discuss after watching. A solid and smart directorial debut from the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One of my cinematic highlights of the year.