Marlon Brando’s life has passed into legend. The late actor was an enigma on screen and off, a mass of contradictions who provided no easy insight into his life or process. “Listen to Me Marlon,” a new documentary from director Stevan Riley, cuts through the mythology to present a complex but trippy portrait.
Riley doesn’t go the usual route, so no talking head interviews with Brando’s friends and family. Instead he pieces together Brando’s own words from private recordings, never before seen footage and, most intriguingly, the actor’s self-hypnosis tapes. The cumulative effect of this material goes beyond a standard bio. “Listen to Me Marlon” hits the factual signposts of the actor’s life but, using Brando’s words, is dreamlike in its assessment of those events. From the isolation of fame, the death of his daughter to career highs and lows, the movie covers it all in a biography unlike any other.