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Archive for the ‘Somewhere’ Category

Somewhere – review

Somewhere – viewed 12/25/10

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Somewhere is Sofia Coppola’s first film since her less than inspiring Marie Antoinette, which I thought was one of, if not the worst, film of 2006.  It seems she’s becoming hit or miss over the course of her career, but she does always have an original insight into the world of filmmaking. Like father like daughter.

Stephen Dorff plays movie star Johnny Marco.  He could be any one of the hundreds of huge movie stars out today.  Everyone loves him.  Everyone wants to be with him, party with him, and fuck him, and he can fuck whoever he wants as we quickly learn.  We also learn that there is not much to him as a person.  He constantly runs in to women who yell at him for screwing them over, or receiving text messages from unknown numbers swearing him off as an asshole.  Maybe not everyone does love Johnny after they get to know him.  He’s asked in depth questions at a press conference for his new movie, to which he has no answers for.  He floats on by through life as everyone gives him whatever he wants.  He really lacks a life at all.

The one thing in Johnny’s life that does have substance is his daughter Cleo, played by Elie Fanning.  Now I don’t know what they fed those Fanning kids when they were young, but they all shit gold.  The kid is great in the film. Cleo is your normal, everyday, average young girl.  She loves her father, and her mother, but neither of them seem to have enough time for her.  She never really gets caught up in the fame that surrounds her father.  The majority of the film follows Johnny as he gets to spend time with Cleo.  You can see glimpses of some sort of humanity within Johnny along the way, except women seem to enter the picture to often, showing us that once again, Johnny is kind of a dirt bag.

Somewhere is what I like to call an, “I Get It” movie.  I get right away that this character Johnny can have whatever he wants.  We learn this from a great opening scene in which two twin strippers are sent to his room at the Chateau Marmont (a famous LA hotel that has been known to cater to many famous celebrities, claiming the lives of more than one).  They set up stripper poles in his room and do a private dance for him, which he quickly falls asleep to. It’s a great scene, and I got it right away. There is no substance to this character.  He’s lost whatever it was that he once had. I don’t need you to constantly beat this in to my head for the next two hours with a dull film to prove your point.  Coppola is taking a page out of Sam Mendes book. Maybe they can get together to create the ultimate “I Get It” movie.

Dorff does a superb job of making me “get it”, so I’ll give him props for that, and it’s nice to see him getting some credit for his acting once again.  I’ve always thought he was a great actor.  He’s actually quite entertaining at times when you’re just about to fall asleep during the film, which the man sitting directly in front of me actually did.  I could tell by the snoring.

The film opens with an extended scene of Dorff driving a Ferrari on a race track.  Around and around the car goes in multiple laps.  We are foreshadowing the circular journey of our main character.  he goes around and around, but never gets anywhere.  He lives in and out of hotels, and has no real place to call home, he fucks women that all seem the same, but quickly gets bored with them.  He’s a shallow man, always playing the same game.  This idea of a circle is present throughout the course of the film.  This is a technique that Federico Fellini used in a lot of his films, 8 1/2 being the main one.  Coppola tips her hat to a lot of films around the Italian neo-realist period, and French new wave period as well, bringing a lot of themes in to her film.  I love films like that.  They seem simple at the core and slowly the character progresses to an enlightened state of being and has a great epiphany by the end of the film.  My big problem though is that there doesn’t really seem to be a great change taking place with the character of Johnny through the course of the film.  We just see that everything is the same, and at the end we are supposed to just believe in the final choices that unfold, but there’s no real glue to bring it all together.

While Somewhere lacks a lot of substance, there are some really funny scenes that sneak their way in to the film, and there are some really nice and poignant scenes between Johnny and his daughter, but overall the film just misses its mark.

Grade: C+