Sunday, November 16, 2003

movie: Lost in Translation

Amy: This one got off to a comfortably slow start. Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray are well matched. I developed just enough desire to know more about the characters' thoughts to really enjoy the subtlety Sophia Coppola uses to tell their story. I wish more big-screen relationships were as satisfying as this one. And I wish more big-screen endings were as perfectly matched to their big-screen beginnings. four stars.

Jonathan: Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a movie star who is in Tokyo making a whiskey commercial. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is also in Tokyo tagging along on her photographer hubsband's business trip. Both strangers in a strange land, they eventually become friends.

I felt the movie would have been better had
Bob Harris' wife (heard on the telephone but never seen on screen) been portrayed more sympathetically. The movie does not need so much emotional distance between Bob and his wife and it would have been better without it. In general though, the movie gives the audience plenty of room to develop their own ideas rather than bludgeoning them with a cinematic mace. Jean-Pierre Jeunet touches this very subject in his director's commentary of Amelie. There is a scene in Amelie where she takes an apartment key that has been left in a door to a locksmith to be duplicated then replaces the key in the door where she found it. In this replacing the key scene, there is an x-ray vision special effect showing that Amelie has a duplicate of the key she is replacing in her pocket. Mr. Jeunet commented that in test screenings many people did not make the connection that Amelie had duplicated the key in question when they later see her surreptitiously enter the apartment so hey added the x-ray key special effect. In seeing the movie again he felt that it was too much (i.e. lacked sublety). This is what I'm talking about; I also like the scene better without the x-ray key.

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