Blonde: Andrew Dominik’s heavily fictionalized biopic of Marilyn Monroe is equal parts compelling, unconventional, and distressing. Even though she is one of the greatest pop icons, her trajectory is a tragic one, and the film captures that well; perhaps too much, as it almost relishes the cruelty and abuse done by those around her. In any case, the character created on screen is convincing. Ana de Armas looks close enough to her, but more relevantly, is able to both mimic her trademark whispered smoky delivery and create a vulnerable character filled with insecurities and pain. Adrien Brody is quite good as her famous and caring second husband. The production design, by Florencia Martin, and the costume design, by Jennifer Johnson, are very competent. The musical score, composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, is certainly very unusual for the genre. The film changes film stock, aspect ratio, and color treatment without much rhyme or reason, to the point of being a major distraction; that’s not to say that the work of cinematographer Chayse Irvin is unattractive moment to moment, but the whole is just too busy. It also feels overlong, but that’s mostly because the cruel treatment of the protagonist gets tiresome.