Right off the bat, I can say this, Sean Penn is an incredibly versatile actor who clearly has no problem experimenting with off-the-wall roles. And it doesn’t get more off-the-wall than Cheyenne. As a burned out Goth rock star, he sure is something to look at. Picture Buffalo Bill with a few years added to his ticket and the voice of sweet old lady and you’re there.
Looks aside, I just didn’t gel with the premise. He’s bummed because two brothers committed suicide and blamed it on his lyrics. Dude, you play Goth music. Do you really think Glenn Danzig (I know these guys are more metal, but still) or those guys from GWAR would’ve given up singing over a couple suicides? Doubtful. I know suicide’s nothing to joke about, but who says these guys just didn’t just decide to blame music on their way out? Okay, so throw that aside, then you’ve got Cheyenne on a cross country tour-de-force looking for a Nazi a la Magneto in X-MEN FIRST CLASS. I don’t think I need to tell you which one was superior in the entertainment department.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE is beyond nuts, which is what makes Sean Penn’s character so interesting in that “I can’t look away” fashion. He’s a train going down a broken track that drops into a gorge. You know this, but still feel the need to see that explosion. There’s a few funny moments—all Penn of course, and I dug the chemistry he had with his daughter (it’s a wonder she’s not completely bonkers), but this is a special kind of film that requires a special kind of taste. Personally, I keep hearing the music from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS when Buffalo Bill is dancing in front of the mirror. But then again, I’m sick.