If there’s anything more miserable than a drug-addict themed family drama, is the sheer realization of said misery being turned into exploitative narrative beats. In others terms, misery porn; the lowest form of entertainment, that simultaneous values and disgraces the lives of affected victims. Fortunately, the latest Martin Scorsese executively produced feature Diane, narrowly misses this sharp roadblock, by giving its audiences a sense of meaning. Albeit some strenuous and poorly executed sequences of pure cringe and utter disbelief, Diane is a grounded film with a fantastic final 20 minutes, involving realization and forgiveness. Kent Jones’s first narrative feature is a brave one, and a commendable achievement for filmmakers, young and old.
What Kent and his small team managed to accomplish with his latest feature, is more than meets the eyes. The most notable aspect are the secondary characters, friends of Diane which steal the show, by adding depth and acute narrative details to progress the pace and the plot of the film. Brief scenes of family members chatting across the dining room table, give an authentic nostalgic vibe, that comes off more contemplative, than unnecessary. This same feeling, can be applied to a few dream sequences and shots, which also perfectly encapsulate the inner psychosis of a grief stricken mother.
However, Diane unfortunately falters due to it’s leading subjects and performance execution. Specifically coming from Jake Lacy and Mary Kay Place, their individual stage presence and dialogue given, comes with an unfortunate price. Their roles irritate the viewer, completely distancing the situations at hand from reality, forever altering the course and realism of the serious depictions it’s basing itself on. Through terrible writing choices, and aimless stage direction, it dumbfounds it’s viewers through its own pitiful obscurity. This also doesn’t help the film’s god awful editing, which adds yet another cherry on top too it’s mountain of shame. Relying too heavily on quick cuts, cross fading, and questionable choices involving pace, the film ends up being distracting, with each cut coming from an average estimated ratio of 1 cut/per four seconds. Listen, we don’t need another Bohemian Rhapsody on our hands to deal with Diane right now. She’s got larger problems to deal with.
Diane’s sloppy attributes may weigh down the film’s deep thematic nature. However, Kent Jones’s direction is an aspiring attempt at what could be done with the commonly used paint by numbers drug-themed family drama. Separating itself from the likes of Beautiful Boy, another film with similar plot beats and scenarios, Diane feels fictional at the end of the day, for the better. Through it’s creative visual lens and detailed secondary performances, Diane is a deeply flawed, yet commendable attempt at an all too familiar, and tragic story.
Diane Opens In Select Cinemas March 29th