Wednesday, January 5, 2011
s o m e w h e r e
I had a feeling I was going to like Somewhere (Sophia Coppola, 2010) when I read that a) critic Jim Schembri found it boring and b) it was really, really slow. I don't have time or opportunity to book in to one of those Californian Zen retreats – as much as I'd like to by January 1 – so one hundred minutes in aircon comfort in the company of a bewildered and overindulged American actor by the name of Johnny Marko (Stephen Dorff) spoke to me. It was like a long Bruce Webber photographic shoot. Coppola has such a sure touch with actors – here Dorff and the young, unaffected Elle Fanning but elsewhere Scarlett Johannsen and Bill Murray. It's important because her taste for arthouse minimalism and its formal tropes (holding shots for forever, framing actors front on) is well established. But the films investment in naturalism cut through that filmic style and offered up an affecting portrait of self inflicted malaise. Reading a few blogs I get that it's enraged a lot of viewers. My sister included. She actually went online to see if someone could fricken' tell her what the ending meant (like you might after a Michael Haneke film). Me? I was more receptive to its charms.