Back in 2003 Sofia Coppola made a film called “Lost in Translation.” It was a landmark film in how it demonstrated the sometimes great divide between film critics/cinephiles and everybody else.
Film critics loved “Lost in Translation.” Everybody else hated it. I know this because everybody else confronted me with it after they saw it. I can’t recall any other movie generating as much “I can’t believe critics liked that boring piece of crap” response. And it wasn’t just me. I remember Ebert and Roeper going back and doing a second segment on the film to defend themselves after the feedback from a disappointed public.
Well, Sofia’s back with another celebrity slice-of-life ditty called “Somewhere.” Now, I kinda liked “Lost in Translation” — the opening scene anyhow — but I’m firmly siding with Joe Public on this one. If you hated “LinT,” avoid this new one at all costs.
Stephen Dorff stars as Johnny Marco, an actor we’re told but we never see him actually acting. Instead we see Johnny drive his car, sit around, stand and look over hotel balconies, receive insulting text messages, and other mundane acts in scenes that go on and on and on. Oh, the ennui. Look ma, celebrities live boring lives too!
The only time Johnny comes to life is when he’s visited by his daughter (Elle Fanning). Then we get to enjoy long scenes of him watching her ice skate, or them playing video games, or them sitting by the pool.
“Somewhere” is the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry. It runs 98 minutes that feel like 9 hours, 8 minutes. Now, I know you’re thinking “Ronnie, you’re exaggerating,” and yes, sometimes I give in to hyperbole, but this time I actually went back with my watch and timed some of these moments as proof that I’m not mad.
Yes, I get that she’s trying to make point by making us spend 90 seconds watching Johnny sit still while a mask dries on his face; or making us spend 1 minute and 46 seconds as she s l o w l y pans from close up to wide shot of Johnny and daughter sitting by the pool; and my personal favorite — nearly 3 minutes of two blondes doing a lackluster job of pole dancing in Johnny’s hotel room while he’s lying on the bed.
That’s not art. It’s tedium.