Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; Behind the scenes; A
conversation with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola; Trailer; Kevin
Shields music video 'City Girl'.
WORDS simply cannot do justice to the pleasure of watching Lost
in Translation, Sofia Coppolas beautifully heartfelt, deeply
thought-provoking, tale of two Americans, who form an unlikely
relationship, while lost in Tokyo.
Bill Murray provides a career-best performance as middle-aged
actor, Bob, in town to film a whiskey commercial, who begins to
realise how lonely his life has become, while struggling to get
to grips with Japanese culture.
When he befriends the similarly lonely Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson),
the young wife of a trendy photographer (Giovanni Ribisi), who
is never around, the two form a surprising friendship, which forces
each of them to confront where their lives are headed.
Murray, especially, is tremendously affecting as the fading actor,
whose relationship with his wife has become emotionally-distant,
despite her numerous phone calls and faxes about home improvements,
and whose relationship with Charlotte represents a re-awakening
of sorts, and a reminder of what it feels like to be alive.
Their ensuing relationship is touchingly portrayed, and a triumph
of under-statement, refusing to go for the obvious, while remaining
bitingly honest throughout.
Coppola infuses her picture with a dream-like quality, offering
lingering shots of her characters set against the backdrop of
Tokyos neon-lit landscapes, as well as a pitch-perfect score,
which takes in the likes of Death in Vegas and The Jesus and Mary
Chain, as well as original music from My Bloody Valentines
founder, Kevin Shields.
She also strikes a nice balance between the drama and humour,
with Murray neatly juggling his trademark suave persona with a
hitherto untapped melancholy, which serves to make his transformation
all the more poignant during the movies latter stages.
Whether singing karaoke, attempting to decipher the fragmented
instructions of his Japanese directors, or interacting with the
locals, he is a mesmerising presence, prone to human frailty,
yet all the more likeable for being so down to earth.
It is a masterclass in subtlety from the actor, which must rate
as a potential award-winner, and which more than repays back the
faith put in him by Coppola (who insists she wrote the script
with one name in mind).
Yet Johansson deserves just as much mention for her equally under-stated
turn as Charlotte, building on a rapidly-growing reputation and
contributing a great deal to the overall enjoyment of proceedings.
Her relationship with Bob is completely believable, in spite
of the obvious age gap, and heartbreakingly honest, in that Coppola
avoids the temptation of placing them in obvious scenarios (their
relationship never becomes physical), while keeping things funny
and sad throughout.
By the time the inevitable farewell rears its tragic head, there
shouldnt be a dry eye in the house, for this pulls at the
heart-strings in a far more effective way than anything the mainstream
has delivered in ages.
Thoughtful and endlessly inventive, this would rate among the
top ten of any years best movies, and really looks destined
to become a timeless classic. Rush to see it.