‘Don Jon’ is a offer you can’t refuse on DVD
Jon Martello Jr. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New Jersey bartender and womanizer. Yet, in spite of his ability to land sexual partners, Jon has a dirty secret: he’s hopelessly hooked on internet porn. For him, no real life bedmate, no matter how gorgeous or skilled, can compare to the endless parade of images he finds on the web. Even after what would seem an exhausting session in the sack, Jon still feels the call of his laptop. Jon’s routine seems fixed for life until he meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson). She’s a sassy Jersey girl who proves a rare challenge to his powers of seduction. But can he reveal to her his awkward addiction?
For his feature length directorial debut, ‘Don Jon’, Gordon-Levitt assembled an enviable cast, donned a wife beater and accent, and completely immersed himself in the character of Jon Martello Jr. The character is a drastic step away from anything else Gordon-Levitt has played, and he does a good job too, but the real shinning start here is Johansson. Playing a shallow bombshell that sees Jon as a ‘tool’ to manipulate, Johansson’s demanding Barbara is a departure from many of Johansson’s previous roles, a self-aware sexpot that uses every inch of her body to gain her advantage. Johansson delivers whenever she is onscreen, and unsurprisingly she helped a lot with Gordon-Levitt’s development of the Barbara Sugerman character. Upon a second viewing at home, Julianne Moore’s roles grows in impact and influence as it’s a real and assured performance that anchors the last third of the film.
For the rest of the Martello family Gordon-Levitt went to an old friend to play his father, his ‘Angels in the Outfield’ co-star Tony Danza, and gets a brilliant performance from the TV sitcom veteran. Mom is played convincingly by Glenne Headly and the role that benefits the most from repeat viewings is the almost Kevin Smith like role of Jon’s sister Monica played by Brie Larson. Seeing the film a second time really shows the nuance of the supporting role Larson puts forward as most of her performance is visual and just off-screen.
The DVD comes with a smattering of special features with a making of featurette, a fun behind the scenes feature, a series of cast and crew interviews and a featurette dealing with Gordon-Levitt`s production company/side project hitRECord. Sadly what is missing is an audio commentary track that may have given us some further insight into Gordon-Levitt’s process.
Don Jon turns out to be a unique and distinctive vision that is unlike most films released in its bold and unflinching storytelling. It proves that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a unique and distinctive voice and the film only gets better with repeated viewings. Gordon-Levitt is definitely not just an actor, but also a director to keep an eye out for in the future.
Till Next Time
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