Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 2010. Focus Features, Pathe Distribution, Medusa Film, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, American Zoetrope. Screenplay by Sofia Coppola. Cinematography by Harris Savides. Produced by G. Mac Brown, Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola. Music by Phoenix. Production Design by Anne Ross. Costume Design by Stacey Battat. Film Editing by Sarah Flack. National Board of Review Awards 2010. National Society of Film Critics Awards 2010.
Bouncing back from the disappointment of her beautiful but empty Marie Antoinette, director Sofia Coppola revisits the subtlety and grace of her critically acclaimed Lost In Translation with this moody exploration of the dull days of a struggling movie star. Stephen Dorff plays the actor in question whose career is flush but whose personal life is in shambles: he frequently has strippers in his hotel room, packs in a lot of substances and stays up late at parties before getting up to go do press conferences unshaven in dirty clothing. When his pre-teen daughter (Elle Fanning) shows up at his hotel room and he is forced to take care of her for a while, he suddenly finds himself having a reason to consider perhaps cleaning up his lifestyle. Coppola is still one of the freshest and most original filmmakers out there; although she credits a lot of her style to the influence of those who have come before her, she has a way of making things her own except that here the narrative leaves a lot to be desired. The exoticism of Tokyo against the alienation of the characters is replaced by the banal seediness of Los Angeles, and it is obvious that Coppola is not in love with either her characters or setting; the judgemental attitude towards the soulless parties and unsexy carnality makes for an unpleasant and unmemorable viewing experience, while Dorff does not have nearly enough on-camera charisma to make the silences resonate.