Monday, April 22, 2013
Hollywood. Johnny Marco, while recovering from an injury on his hand due to a dangerous stunt in a film, is a famous actor without a goal or a direction in his life. He spends his days in a hotel, driving cars or attending monotone promotional interviews. His ex-wife Layla leaves their 11-year old daughter Cleo to stay with him. He gladly welcomes a break from his routine and goes no to bond with Cleo, even bringing her to Italy for the premiere of his new film. Eventually, Cleo returns to her mother while Johnny is left with an even bigger feeling of emptiness in his life.
Well meant, patiently crafted and emotionally honest, Sofia Coppola's fourth feature length film, "Somewhere", in the end goes nowhere - unfortunately, the hero's ennui eventually becomes synonymous for the whole film. A minimalistic movie should always find a right balance when something is going on and when nothing is going on, yet here that was not achieved to the fullest - the scenes of Johnny (Stephen Dorff) driving in his car, sitting in the hotel or playing video games with his daughter are all small vignettes that do not connect as a whole, which was already the problem in "Lost in Translation", though few would admit it. At times, those scenes almost seem like some family home video of random clips, whereas the subplot where Johnny and his daughter Cleo go to Italy and have trouble adjusting almost seems like "Lost in Translation part 2". Where is the life in this story? Where is the energy? Where is the power that hooks you? Surprisingly, even though the director is a woman herself, all the women Johnny has affairs with are all superficially presented, just as quick display of nudity. The most was achieved thanks to Elle Fanning who steals almost every scene she is in, while another plus point goes to the intention of unmasking the glamorous world of Hollywood actors as actually quite unglamorously banal and common. The only point the movie makes is near the end, when Johnny says "I am sorry I wasn't around" and when he calls his ex-wife to say how he thinks he is "nothing".