Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Opens locally Friday, January 14th, 2011
Run Time: 1 hour, 38 min, Rated R
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan
Written & Directed by Sophia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette)
I wasn't a big fan of director Sophia Coppola's best known film, 2003's "Lost in Translation", which won the Oscar for Best Screenplay, and saw nominations for Best Actor (Bill Murray), Best Director (Coppola), and Best Picture. That movie was a slow, unnecessary exercise in self-righteousness, where nearly nothing happens and it is heralded as "art." Well, Coppola's latest film "Somewhere" is so slow and deliberate, it makes "Lost in Translation" seem like "The Fast & The Furious."
From the opening shot of "Somewhere", Coppola creates a bleak tone. She takes her time with each shot, and is successful in creating a very patient mood. People of my generation along with most current movie-goers are used to the fast cuts & non-stop action, with our short attention spans and all. By the time we meet the film's main character (Stephen Dorff), we understand just why the pacing has been handled as such.
Dorff plays a well-known celebrity actor, the fictitous Johnny Marco. He lives in the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood, drives a Ferrari, and lives the celebrity lifestyle. Although this is a take on celebrity that plays against our expectations. Marco is sleepwalking through his existence, better described as a state of comfortably numb. The slow pace of the movie matched with the unenthused star makes us view his celebrity in a different light. He has countless women, is shuffled off to press junkets and press conferences as he promotes his upcoming film, and then returns back to his hotel-hell, where he is desparately isolated.
When his 11 year old daughter Cleo comes into the picture....the movie continues to drift along as if uninterested. We are supposed to see a transformation in Johnny, as he comes to a self-realization as to how he chooses to live his life, and what's important. Instead, the movie continues to drudge slowly towards an anti-climactic finish.
I understand the tone and a portion of what Coppola is trying to show here: The unglamorous side of fame. But to say that nothing happens in this movie is the understatement of the century. There will surely be some who file this movie under "art film", but I'm not going to pull any punches. I'll call it like it is, and "Somewhere" was a huge waste of time and film.
I can't imagine an average movie-goer who would enter the theatre to see "Somewhere" and would leave feeling pleased at the time spent. If you loved "Lost in Translation," something tells me you'll find a way to praise "Somewhere", but there is just not enough here to latch on to and recommend. "Somewhere" is neither here not there, or anywhere for that matter. You'd be better off somewhere else.
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