Movie version of Frank Ferruccio's book, Diamonds to Dust: The Life and Death
of Jayne Mansfield. This film focuses on
the exciting 1960's turbulent life of Legend Jayne Mansfield.
Written By: Frank Ferruccio
Directed By: Rob Villano
Undertaking a production like this without a huge budget was one hell of a risk. In the right ( Or wrong ) hands set design alone could literally eat up the modest budget for a larger production, never mind it's impact on an Indie one. Never the less, director Rob Villano decided to attempt what could have been a hazardous production using writer Frank Ferruccio's book as the base for the screenplay. The results are a mixed bag at times. Diamonds To Dust flirts with greatness at times, slums it... and then rebounds back to the top. In terms of sheer entertainment this turbulent biopic easily holds it's own; but it could have been so much more.
The problems with Diamonds To Dust begin straight after the intro credit roll. In a nutshell? The coloring and filters. I totally understand the impulse to color this film like it was made many, many years ago. A film that takes place in the 1950s and 60s? Sounds like a great idea in theory. Theory doesn't always work in the real world though. The coloring just kept taking me straight out of the film but not as much as the filters and vignettes. At times the mixing of the darker colors and vignettes made it a real pain in the ass to watch and take in the film. Thankfully, the filters ease up as the movie goes on and eventually, your eyes adjust to the poor coloring choices. The other aspect which kept concerning me was the inconsistency of the actors. At times, the acting was brilliant and completely engaging all around the board! Other times it came across as scripted, hollow and without feeling. Sometimes this happened scene to scene! For the most part, Hailey Heisick did a great job in the lead role, allowing you to forget for a time it was an actress you were watching, playing a part. Most of the inconsistent performances came from the supporting parts. Again, no one person really stood out because the acting was so up and down. I have no doubt that the talent was all there, it just felt like it wasn't completely utilized at times. The lack of focus and direction at these points in the film really hurt what was overall a great production.
In the end, we have an above average film that at times showed total signs of greatness. Without the issues I wrote about above this could easily have been one of the few to earn a perfect rating! It's all there! As Diamonds To Dust sits right now, we've got an entertaining piece of Independent art that blew away my expectations and I was glad to have watched. This is a real, not watered down biopic of a strong woman navigating her way through the era of men, booze and movies! Although not as perfect as it could have been, Diamonds To Dust has enough gumption and grit to satisfy history buffs and anyone craving a good story.
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