I’m breaking in my new movie topic tonight.
I finally got around to seeing Lost in Translation. Has Bill Murray ever stunk up a movie? Every decent actor his age has at least thrown a few crap performances up on the screen, but somehow Bill ends up doing great work throughout his career. Maybe I can forgive him for being in Charlie’s Angels, but at least he had enough intelligence not to come back for the sequel. Scarlett Johansson was terrific and if you like her you should definitely check out Ghost World.
Lost in Translation follows the meeting of two Americans in Tokyo, a city portrayed as busy, friendly, and entirely alien to Murray and Johansson. As usual, I can’t discuss a movie without giving stuff away, so don’t read on unless you’ve seen Lost in Translation.Bill Murray plays a washed up Hollywood actor, which is funny considering my praise of him earlier. He meets Johansson, the young, beautiful, and unhappy wife of an up and coming photographer. We’re told she’s smart (“Not everyone went to Yale”) and that helps her character gain some credibility at the begining, but by the end she doesn’t need it. Going against the Hollywood/TV tradition of casting 8-10 years above your character’s age, she actually plays a 22 year old at 18 and does it well.
Tokyo strips all the distractions from their lives (spouses, kids, school, parents, etc. (Murray’s job is a distraction, but only for a few hours a day and for $2 million)) and lets them look at themselves. They end up spending a great week together, but in the end they know they must go back to the distractions. Their feelings for each other were somehow both subtle and obvious, and you wonder if any scenario exists with them ending up together. If Sofia Coppola wanted to keep the trust of the audience, the answer is no.
The last scene was awesome. What did he say? I don’t want to know. I’m sure it would be like looking up Kenny’s mumbled messages in South Park. You’d miss the great reactions and responses of the other kids and in Lost in Translation, you’d miss the goodbye.
Lost in Translation makes me want to take a trip to Tokyo, just to see what the heck that laser gun thing was. After this and the Virgin Suicides, I’d see anything Sofia Coppola directs.