Friday, August 5, 2011
Somewhere - DVD Review
Starring Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, Michelle Monaghan and Ellie Kemper. Directed by Sofia Coppola.
Sofia's an accomplished director and she's carving out her own niche in the "Nothing Happens" art film genre.
This movie is similar to Lost in Translation in that it's about a jaded actor and it takes place mostly in hotel rooms and lobbies. It very much has a home-movie feel, and if you followed someone around with the camera, there would be large stretches where they don't talk, they just stare straight ahead. She's not quite dipping into Gus Van Sant territory yet. She's just flipped the drama. Most movies have a lot happen and we get these quiet moments. This movie is all quiet moments.
Dorff gives his most effective performance to date, as a bit of a blank-slate of an actor. We gather he's been in the business a while and he's very successful, but he's finding his life off-camera is empty. It gets filled a bit when his daughter shows up and then her mother can't take her back for a few days. So she travels with him, stays at his hotels, goes to his award shows.
His daughter is Elle Fanning, before known as Dakota's little sister and now known as the girl from Super 8. Her presense brings the hope that something might happen. The father-daughter relationship is casual and real. There's definite authenticity here to portrayals.
At one point, Dorff falls asleep watching twin models pole-dance for him. I feel like if I'd nodded off at any point in the movie and woke up ten minutes later, wouldn't have missed a thing. Here's one hint. If a song with lyrics starts on the soundtrack, whatever the characters are doing, they're going to do it the whole time so the song can play out, whether it's eating lunch or sunbathing. Really, ultimately, why should people outside of the Coppola family and some of their jet-setting friends care about this non-story?