Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Indie Review: Lost In Translation (2003)
A Rather Poignant Tale About How Friendship Needs No 'Translation'
I always enjoy films where the main character or characters go on a physical or emotional journey. Lost In Translation is a film that is sort of in that vein except the main characters don't exactly take us on that kind of journey. Instead, as the characters bond, they just take the audience along for the ride.
Lost In Translation follows the story of a former movie star named Bob Harris (Bill Murray) who is undergoing a mid-life crisis as he travels to Japan to film an alcohol commercial. While there, he meets a young college graduate named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson). Together, they form a bond as they stay in the city of Tokyo and become lost in translation along the way.
First off, I absolutely loved the screenplay by writer/director Sofia Coppola. The beginning of the film not only introduces us to its characters but manages to introduce them without the heavy use of dialogue. The film itself isn't too heavy on dialogue and I thought that was very interesting. I also thought it was interesting how there aren't much flaws to be found in the script because it is literally about two Americans who meet in a foreign land and the bond they share. Yet I couldn't help but love the story that is a balance of both light-hearted comedic moments as well as drama. I also thought the direction by Coppola was absolutely beautiful.
Another thing I absolutely loved was the chemistry between the two leads. Even though he has some light-hearted moments, Bill Murray isn't played for laughs much which allows him to give a very genuine and heartfelt performance. Scarlett Johansson is also quite excellent as Charlotte, a rather lost soul trying to figure out what she wants out of life. As the film progresses, not to give anything away, but Charlotte starts to think that she knows what she wants and when Johansson expresses that feeling, she does it through her eyes. Both the two leads gave brilliant performances and I am quite pleased that they both got some awards recognition for their fine work.
Overall, Lost In Translation is a rather simple tale of two strangers meeting by chance that is told rather brilliantly. It works thanks to its amazing chemistry from both Murray and Johansson, as well as the beautiful screenplay and direction by Sofia Coppola. I'm not sure if I would recommend it to everyone since it is based on its story and there isn't much action. If that is not your cup of tea, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you do like movies like those, that are based on story or dialogue, then I would say give this one a watch.