Monday, June 3, 2013

Lost in Translation review

Bill Murray has had a long and storied career. From Stripes to Ghostbusters to Groundhog Day, Murray is one of the legends of comedy. But Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation was really the first time that he had experimented in drama. And while Lost in Translation is really funny, it definitely is a weighty, serious film. Some might think that Murray would be a misfit in the film but he's spot-on. Murray has the right amount of humor and wit to put into the role along with the agonizing pain that comes with it. Lost in Translation was not a film that I immediately loved. It takes a while to get into the story, but once the two main characters meet, the film comes alive. And then I realized that Lost in Translation was more than just pretty Japanese imagery. It's a love story, but it's not. It's a different kind of love.

Lost in Translation is the story of Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a mid-50s movie star who is kind of sick of his life of stardom. He goes to Japan to film a commercial for a Japanese whiskey company and finds himself more depressed with his life. But while there, he meets a woman named Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson), who is equally lost in life. They meet and fall in love and become young again through the course of a week in Tokyo.

Lost in Translation gets off to a slow start. After the now famous opening shot of Scarlett Johannson's butt, we are taken through around 40 minutes of awkwardly hilarious encounters between Bob and Japanese people who laugh at his inability to understand their language along with longing looks into the distance by Murray and Johannson. It's somewhat entertaining, but all in all, kind of boring to watch. The cinematography is great but it's not enough to carry the movie.

However, when they finally meet and go around Japan together, you can sense it coming on: the movie is becoming fantastic. Johannson's performance is one for the ages and Murray's is full of his traditional wit and sarcastic humor, but just a bit deeper than his usual performances. The two have great chemistry together and really carry the film through it's second half. You can sense that the two depressed characters are loosening up and becoming alive.

Coppola's direction and camerawork is stunning. The beauty of Japan is fully shown through her great direction. Whenever I left the room to get food, or go to the bathroom, I felt like I was leaving the world, which is the sign of a great movie. I really like the way that she built up the plot too. And that ending is fantastic. Heartbreaking, bittersweet, yet optimistic. I love it.

While this maybe a short review, I wanted to recommend this film to people and I really don't have that much to say. It's a very good movie, with a good plot and is well-executed. It's one of the most unique love stories that I have ever seen, because I couldn't really tell if they were in love or if they were just helping each other. But whatever the case, it's a great story and one that I would recommend. It's pretty funny as well and there are a couple of scenes that are truly hilarious. I really love movies that inject humor into serious matters. Those are often the best. While Lost in Translation isn't one of the best movies ever, it's well-made and a heartbreaking story that will entertain you for two hours, while making you think.


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