Don Jon (2013)

This is a weird one. I have no idea how I feel about this movie. I can’t really put on paper what it meant, what it signified or really even what it was about. It’s a sort of pseudo rom-com, reaching I suppose, for a sort of smug self awareness. Ultimately though it falls into the trappings of the films it’s hero derides.

Our hero is of course the titular Don Jon, writer, director and lead actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, buffed up and oranged into a Jersey Shore cast member. He works at a low level job, “the service industry” is all we’re ever told, but seemingly has a good amount of wealth as signified by his nice car and tidy apartment, and most pertinently is addicted to porn.

It’s inventively shot to a point, his contact with both said porn and the two women he has relations with are connected with this neat trick where the characters stare into the camera. It happens rather often and makes me wonder if the whole thing is a vanity exercise for Levitt, taking into account that he writes himself as a lothario character who beds a different women every weekend and has no trouble making the one woman he can’t instantly bed into his girlfriend within the space of two/three encounters.

The film is enigmatic of tone, somewhat satirical yet equally as cliched, it’s attitudes to women and relationships in general flip flop and never land in one firm position, the pacing is particularly off and it finishes before it feels like it has yet gone anywhere. It’s as hard to pin down as my feelings towards it are but I think with practice, Levitt could become a very interesting voice as a writer/director.

– Oliver Drew

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6 thoughts

  1. Good review. I think Levitt great as an actor and I am also fond I his direction in this one. The screenplay, though, is bad.

    By the way, he’s a bartender. We see him doing it once or twice and he talks about it with Moore’s character.

    • He definitely has the potential to become a very interesting filmmaker, I’m certainly looking forward to what he comes up with next.

      Don’t know where I was when that was mentioned, spent the whole film wondering why they were so ungiving with the details of his work life…

      • They were pretty right lipped. Presumably to show Barbara’s influence on Jon.

        She was embarrassed by his job, and had conditioned him not to mention it. That he found nothing wrong with it, well, that didn’t matter to her.

  2. Just a note: The staring into the camera happens when each character was in their “obsession” (i.e Jons father with TV, jon with porn, Barbara with her movies) hence why Jon’s pov switched to a real live person in the end instead of his porn.

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