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Lost in Translation

January 20, 2004

Director –
Sofia Coppola

Major Actors –
Scarlett Johansson …. Charlotte
Bill Murray …. Bob Harris
Akiko Takeshita …. Ms. Kawasaki
Catherine Lambert …. Jazz Singer
Giovanni Ribisi …. John

IMDB Information

Analysis –
Acting :
The word I’m looking for here is understated. Given Bill Murray’s penchant for over the top humour, it is extremely refreshing to see him in this role. His Bob Harris is a man stuck in his life, but pretty much okay with it. He is a funny guy, but he can’t be bothered to be funny because he’s just so tired. Similarly, the humor and lightheartedness of Scarlett Johansson’s character is quietly fun. Considering the understatement of dialogue in the movie, the amount of information we recieve about the emotional states of the characters is very impressive.

Writing :
This movie is very much a set piece. A lot of visual moments, a lot of body language. The dialogue is sparse and somewhat wistful. At points, the conversations turn very spiritual, focusing on things that usually aren’t even mentioned in film. At others, you feel like you’re hearing a conversation between two of your friends. Overall the writing is very good, though there are some moments in the films where the dialogue is *so* banal that you may as well be paying attention to a couple in the lobby.

Directing:
Ms. Coppola’s other film is The Virgin Suicides. I liked this film a good deal better, if only because the content is easier to connect with. Ms. Coppola seems to have a predisposition to directing and producing films that challenge the viewer. I would much rather be challenged by the quiet artful humor of Lost in Translation than the … yeah.

Sets, Costumes, Special FX and Music:
There were no obvious special effects in this film, which is appropriate. The music in this film was done by a trio of gentlemen, all with very good ears who have apparently not done very much yet in the film industry. The costumes were regular clothing, but fit pretty well with the personalities of the characters as I observed them. The “sets” were locations in Tokyo, and were pretty spectacularly scouted. The hotel rooms, karaoke bar, and hotel bar were all wonderful places for visual storytelling.

Movie Overall :
While I liked the film, I have discovered that this is very much a divisive peice. Either you like the film a good deal, or you dislike it. Be forewarned, this is very much a film from the art house frame of mind. If you like dialogue or action heavy movies, this is not a movie for you.

Personal Rating
This movie is worth seeing for regular price.

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