Thursday, January 20, 2011
This time, Coppola is treading back over familiar turf. She's showing (for it certainly isn't telling) the story of a big time actor named Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff). Marco is simply plagued with ennui. His days are a rinse and repeat cycle of activities Coppola manages to make shockingly dull. Plaster face casts from special effects artists, visits from twin pole dancers, up and down the Los Angeles highways in his Ferrari, casual sex with lady after lady, visits from his much too sweet daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning): these are the pieces that make up Johnny's life. There's no vigour, though. He's lost interest, it seems, and Coppola doesn't dress her character's exasperation with fancy camera angles or lively music. Johnny beds a lady, it's boring. Johnny watches the pole dancers, they're really boring. Johnny gets a plaster mold made of his face and we literally watch it dry.
Somewhere's biggest problem, essentially, is that its point is pointless. The film's whole thesis, the entire poetry of it just feels like the exploitation of a cliche. It's not as beautiful as Coppola's other works on any level (including visually). It's also, I'm sorry to say, not as wry. Somewhere possesses almost none of the humor or emotion of the director's other work. The characters, though we're voyeuristically treated to every bit of minutiae within their small lives, are flimsy paper dolls. Their personalities aren't present. We spend more time waiting for them to come to life then they actually spend alive, and when they get that spark, their lives just aren't really worth watching. In the end, even I can't bring myself to banter about its merits. I'll let the self-absorbed film student class of 2012 do the gushing...