November 01, 2004

Lost in No Plotline

So a couple of months ago, our TiVo recorded Lost in Translation. This was one of those critically-acclaimed films we were not able to see in the theater, being the parents of a prematurely-born child. My wife was thrilled when she saw the DVR had saved this movie, and eventually she watched it without me.

I finished watching it today. Please allow me to give you a quick review, in case, like me, you were curious about the film and have not yet gotten around to seeing it.

What a waste of celluloid.

Here’s the plot: Sofia Coppola wanted to make a movie that’s shot in Tokyo, and a little in Kyoto, show off the beauty of Japan, a little in its countryside, but mostly in its urban areas. To sell it to a studio for distribution, she discovered that her name alone wasn’t enough to foster such tripe onto an unsuspecting, movie-going public, and she was forced to hammer out a pathetic excuse for a script that essentially has Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson sitting around for half the movie, gazing forlornly out the windows of their hotel, feeling sorry for themselves with the whole “stranger in a strange land” vibe that everyone on this planet has felt at one time or another, and no, we weren’t particularly fond of it then so why do we have to be reminded of it yet again?

The one scene with any real humor in it, the whiskey photo shoot featuring Murray’s character Bob Harris, was so overplayed during all of the film’s promotion that I didn’t crack a smile once. I know the movie is not a comedy, but the script clearly calls for moments of humor, again, noting the “stranger in a strange land” cliche previously mentioned.

The film’s only saving grace is a lot of footage of Ms. Johansson’s Charlotte moping around her hotel suite in her underwear. I know that in our “modern” society, sex sells, but I thought Ms. Coppola was attempting a great piece of cinematic art, not Cinemax-grade soft porn.

Bob’s in a mid-life crisis. Charlotte, thirty years his junior, has been married to a rock-star photographer for two years, and doesn’t know what she wants to do in her life. Hell, I’m about to turn thirty-four, I got laid off last year from quite possibly the best job I’ve ever had, am still unemployed, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Not a lot of sympathy on my end for poor ol’ Charlotte!

We’re supposed to feel sorry for Bob and Charlotte, but I found myself continuously hitting the fast-forward button. There’s little dialogue, which is on purpose, and what dialogue there is in the film is nothing to hold up as quality writing and production. The audience is even excluded, in a scene widely hailed by the critical press, from what Bob whispers in Charlotte’s ear in the final scene.

I’d like this hour and a half of my life back, please. With interest.

Posted by retrophisch at November 1, 2004 04:15 PM | TrackBack