Okrzyki, przyjaciel! (chaircrusher) wrote,
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!
chaircrusher

LOST IN TRANSLATION

I guess I'm coming late to the game after reviews by optic here and xmutex there...

But I'll throw in my 2 cents. I really enjoyed it, for a number of reasons, which I shall number:

1. Bill Murray. His persona in this movie is like a muted Morley's Ghost -- you can see the weight of the chains binding him. The humor in his character seems damped by this weight, and that it survives seems almost heroic.
2. Tokyo. Never been, want to go. Beautifully photographed. xmutex kvetsched about repetitiveness in showing scenes of the city, but it's there intentionally. It's a rhythm in the structure of the movie. But the setting is there because of Coppola's obvious affection for it; when you don't have context or understanding of something one apprehends it's surface more fully, and what better medium for exploring an alluring and alien surface than film.
3. The 'film-student-esque' touches. Scarlett Johanssen's butt in pink underwear opens the movie in a long shot that's almost architectural. The cyclic pattern of bedroom city television bar as a formal device. The pared down, minimalist plot and dialog. The way Coppola works with a small palette of repeated elements, echoed in the scene where Charlotte joins the flower arranging class. The end where he speaks in her ear and you can't hear what he's saying, as though Coppola respects their privacy.
4. Scarlett herself, who strikes the right tone for her character; she conveys the beauty of youth combined with a sense that she's not fully formed. The way she contrasts with Murray, who looks artfully wrecked and battered.
5. The relationship they form is unlike any I've seen in movies, and belies the prurience one would expect. The depth with which they affect each other without it becoming sexual is a real novelty. As someone who is older, and has important friendships with younger women that aren't sexual or romantic, I like seeing this on screen. It shows a man over 45 who isn't a prurient creep around young women.

Is it a perfect movie? Nah. A perfect movie doesn't come so perfectly arranged for your deconstruction. Perfect movies hoist you out of your attention to their artifice and make you forget they're movies. "Lost In Translation" is as pretty and neat as lunch from a Bento Box, and points to great things in the future from Coppola, but it's not a masterpiece. But it was a joy to watch and makes most of the other movies that have come this year look tawdry and small.
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