Film Review: Mapplethorpe


Like most Americans, I was first introduced to Matt Smith as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor on Doctor Who. That’s why a part of me will always feel a little scandalized by his darker roles. His performance in Womb haunts me to this day. I feel a bit like his mother when I see him bare his ass for extended periods of time on screen. “My stars, Matthew!” I think. “Is that really necessary?”

In regard to a biopic about “the Shy Pornographer,” Robert Mapplethorpe, it is necessary. Mapplethorpe would hate to be pigeonholed in such a way, but his legacy is, essentially, photos of butts and penises. This is acknowledged in the film when Mapplethorpe preps his colleagues for an upcoming exhibition. Even though Mapplethorpe aspired to be a “modern Michelangelo,” he knew that, “people will be expecting some cock.”

Mapplethorpe Director Ondi Timoner (Dig!) also knows this. More importantly, the woman knows how to capture difficult artists. She makes it seem perfectly reasonable – crucial, even – for the subject to get angry when someone tells him his behavior hurts people. It’s a tale as old as time. Hurting people is part of the process…

Read the rest at Hammer to Nail!