Sunday, 23 January 2011

REVIEW: Somewhere

Sofia Coppola returns to familiar ground in this slow yet engaging story of how it can be lonely at the top.

I'm still unsure whether I like Sofia Coppola's work or not. "Lost In Translation" has to be one of my favourite films but unfortunately I can't help but think there was something a bit lucky about it. Coppola retraces this familiar territory with "Somewhere" about a famous film star staying in an infamous LA hotel who has to look after his daughter for a while.

Like "Lost in Translation" the shots are long, slow, often very subdued with minimal dialogue and framed so that the action offscreen is at times just as important as onscreen. I have nothing against this except for the fact I feel I have seen this before and I think it is a bit of a lazy attempt to recreate the success of "Lost In Translation" - also about a somewhat famous star staying in a hotel with a young girl albeit not his daughter, but still...

However, as Tokyo was a character in the film, the title Somewhere is proof that it could be anywhere and it's a shame that the setting and the hotel, though a metaphor for the fake glitz and glamour of excess, isn't explored more. The whole thing feels like a tale of body and soul which is handled very carefully, but yet missing some important factors. Stephen Dorff might feel this is his comeback of sorts, but really his glum, downtrodden, isolated figure in a hedonistic world isn't exactly tough to do however his exchanges with the wonderful Elle Fanning are a joy to watch, in fact Fanning really makes the film. It's sweet to suggest that Dorff's character is a good father at heart, that the lifestyle picked him rather than him picking the lifestyle and that he has such a good time with his daughter, but yet it still feels slightly empty. It's also hard to sympathise with a character who has a lot of sex with beautiful women, gets catered on hand and foot, and shouldn't have anything to worry about - he might not have any 'real' friends, but why not? During such hard times in this financial climate, to feel sorry for the guy is something very hard to do.

For something so slow, sometimes awkward to watch, it was in fact quite engaging with a lot of visual references to existentialism, isolation, identity and more but really I couldn't help but feel like I was back on old territory and had this had more of a unique angle, a better male lead and some more inspirational directing with more depth behind it, it would have been a great film. However, how it stands, it's not exactly a move forward for Coppola and although enjoyable, I doubt anyone will go out of their way to see it and neither should they. Perhaps just spend your time watching "Lost In Translation" again and remembering the exquisite beauty which I fear Coppola will never be able to harness again.

Rating: 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment