PLOT: Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is an American film star promoting his latest film, while holed up at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. His life is a meaningless series of interviews, casual sex, and boozing. While bored, Marco seems content, until getting a visit from his eleven-year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning).
REVIEW: Many have called SOMEWHERE Sofia Coppolas comeback film after her last; MARIE-ANTOINETTE bombed both with critics and at the box-office. To be sure, SOMEWHERE finds Coppola in similar territory to LOST IN TRANSLATION, with her once again examining the ennui of the privileged, although perhaps MARIE-ANTOINETTE wasnt that much of a stretch after all, as what were the pre-French Revolution monarchy if not privileged?
SOMEWHERE actually makes a pretty good companion piece to LOST IN TRANSLATION, with this once again featuring a movie star in crisis. Rather than the middle-aged Bill Murray, we get the younger Stephen Dorff. Of course, Dorff is no Bill Murray, but hes actually quite good here, with him not having a role of this caliber in about ten years.
His Johnny Blanco is your typical Hollywood bad-boy, although, fitting with Coppolas seemingly rose-tinted view of Hollywood (perhaps unavoidable being the daughter of a legend like Francis Ford Coppola), theres never any doubt that Blancos got a heart of gold. We follow him around on a semi-comical press junket for his film; which involves unbelievably dumb questions about how often he works out, and whether his dopey action movie is actually a critique of globalization.
The films story, what little of it there is, only kicks in once we meet his eleven-year old daughter, Cleo. While absent for most of her life, weve never any doubt that Marco loves her, and he takes her on a trip to Milan, where they bond over gelato, and a trip to a cheesy Italian awards show, thats more than a little reminiscent of the silly Japanese talk show Bill Murray, was on in LOST IN TRANSLATION.
One thing that needs to be addressed is that SOMEWHERE is not for everyone. This is really an art film, even more so than LOST IN TRANSLATION. The best way to describe it would be to say its like an episode of ENTOURAGE as directed by Antonioni. To some that may sound unbearably pretentious, and maybe SOMEWHERE is guilty of that to a degree. Not much happens, and I did find it a little tiresome that were supposed to feel bad for a rich movie-star who feels like hes wasting his life. Wow, I suppose one can only feel that way while sitting in the penthouse at Chateau Marmont, right? Starting each day with a heavy dose of Propecia, some anti-depressants, and booze, I suppose were supposed to pity Blanco, but I didnt for a second. When your lifes biggest problem is that youre losing your hair, and are a little bored, I dont think things are going too badly. Still, I enjoyed SOMEWHERE for what it is- which is essentially an exercise in style.
Despite very little happening over the ninety minute running time, I didnt find it boring. Its well shot, and Dorff is good enough to make me hope he starts popping up in higher profile fare again. Being a Sofia Coppola movie, SOMEWHERE also has a killer, oh so hip soundtrack, composed by Phoenix. While it lacks the charm of Bill Murray, or the brilliance of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (which is unquestionably her finest work) SOMEWHERE is still a film worth seeing if youre a fan of Coppolas. While I dont think it deserved to win best film at the Venice Film Festival (over BLACK SWAN!!!), its an interesting film, although Id like to see Coppola branch out into new territory with her next film.
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