Somewhere (2010)

Somewhere, sadly goes nowhere as Sofia Coppola loses all credibility in this abandonment of the sense and sensibilities that have infused her previous films with the mot dur jour reminiscent in her father’s early career.  Reviews are mixed, reviewers either beguiled by the Coppola mystique or otherwise ensnared by Sofia’s own brand of esoterism – either way, or despite such capricious, egocentric maneuvering, Sofia manages to embark on another quiet, seemingly autobiographical journey that lacks all semblance of her 2003 award-winning film Lost In Translation.  Then again, she doesn’t have Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson to rely on to fill the pages of an otherwise lite script.  There are entirely too many scenes in Somewhere that run on, and on, and on as if to suggest there is meaning in the meaningless circles of repetition.  Take the opening sequence of a Ferrari doing laps in the presumable desert – count them, four or is it five?  Later, twin strippers intertwined on portable ‘strippers poles’ gyrate in a semi-fancy, slightly run down and off the beaten path hotel that doubles for the heroes inner most cave – only this journey lacks all machinations of Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces.  Somewhere doesn’t come to a halt in so much as it never gets going and if that is the point, there is no point at all.

This film is littered with stumbling blocks and for a film like Somewhere, the immediacy of the filmmakers prior successes wears thin after the third lap around the dirt track in the fancy black car.  Worse is that we’ve seen these characters before, followed this story, covered this saturated, belabored territory in dozens of superior films.  The grit and grime look like it were painted on by a child with a broad brush, neither hypnotic or seductive as some have described, nor enticing in that perverse sort of way that only actors like Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant) and Nicholas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas) can deliver, at times, but we like them for it.  If Somewhere is a meditation on the pitfalls of celebritydom, on the harsh reality that neither money or fame can buy you happiness, it comes up short, skitters along the surface and plunks down in the quagmire of ‘who cares’.  If Coppola wanted to drone on about the lackluster effect, the cerebral palsy malaise of an actor coming to terms with fading pretty, with former glory and the stuff of grown-ups, she would have been better prepared having not employed Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning to deliver the message.  Dorff and Fanning lack the intestinal fortitude to register silent expressions or make air the weight of conflict – one gone past his prime, the other not quite reached her stride.

Somewhere goes so far as to say very little about the mirrored, glass-house effect of notoriety and fame-fueled spirals into the abyss of excess and success.  Films about such collisions with such insurmountable mountains are hardly contenders with the real life catastrophes of celebrities like Gibson, Sheen, and Lohan.  Coppola might be well versed in the periphery of these destructions, the collateral shadows, but she seems hardly cognizant of what it must really be like to be there, consumed by fleeting seconds, known by strangers, adored and condemned in the same breath.

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About rorydean

Rory Dean is a multi-medium artist, writer and new media strategist with a background as a creative consultant and technology liaison in the San Francisco Bay Area. His broad experiences and specialties include print-to-web publicity, promotions and design marketing using traditional and social media networks. As a motion pictures and television professional, his short films, productions and commercials have screened to domestic and international audiences. His connections to a diverse client base include artists, entertainers, corporations, non-profits and everyday people.. Dean is co-owner and founder of Dissave Pictures, a boutique production company focusing on audio, video, photography and multi-media designs. Dean's personal and professional background includes dreaming and avid notebook journaling, creative and copy writing, promotions and marketing, audio/video production, photography, videography, editing, web design and new media. He’s also a fan of collaboration and knows when to turn the reigns over, offer feedback, lead the team and step aside. His portfolio includes print, online, film, video, photography, graphic design and promotions. He’ll show you. He has a book and everything. "When not juggling various online worlds, I do a pretty good mime – but that’s another story."
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8 Responses to Somewhere (2010)

  1. Laura says:

    I had really high expectations for this film. I do love Sophia Coppola (especially Lost in Translation) but this one was definitely a bit of a miss. I think I wound up giving it a B when I reviewed it. Somewhere definitely went nowhere. I think I was hoping for something a little …darker? And more insightful. I wanted to see these two characters connect with one another and they didn’t.

    The bright spot was Elle Fanning. What a lovely young actress. I look forward to seeing more from her.

    • rorydean says:

      Hi Laura — thanks for coming by and your thoughts on this movie. I too approached the film with high expectations since I have been a long time fan of Sofia Coppola’s films – especially The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation. I think she managed a pretty tough challenge – carving a name for herself out of the film world where her father is notably one of the finest American filmmakers working today (though I have to say I have not completely adjusted to the change of his palate, as of late in marketably smaller and smaller, more niche films). After the opening sequence I felt like something wasn’t quite right – much they way I felt about Gus Vant Sant’s ode to twenty-something pontification on life, love, and the endless journey “Gerry”. Some films are just better on paper or in the filmmakers imagination that once breathed into life, some kind of air and space they lose all momentum and die a quiet death.

      And yes, darker, more a sense of character and the rumination-effect life has on the skin, the eyes, the finger tips. Dorff and Fanning were just too clean. I like Elle though her sister (Dakota) continues to impress and I can’t wait to see her career develop. Have you seen Hounddog or The Runaways? Very good films. Different but good.

      cheers->

      • Laura says:

        Actually, using the film Gerry is a great comparison to Somewhere, in terms of its being somewhat of a misstep.

        I’m not a huge fan of Dakota Fanning. I’m sure she has matured with her last couple of films but I keep thinking of her as the precocious little kid (I don’t like roles where kids are smarter and wiser than adults and that’s essentially Dakota’s entire film resume). I think her sister is much more natural, at least from what I’ve seen here.

      • rorydean says:

        Yeah, you’re so right about ‘precocious little kids’. I think you could probably write a whole article about that one. There are a few exceptions, though I think. Like Natalie Portman in The Professional, Anna Pacquin in The Piano, Elijah Wood in The Ice Storm. There are others but putting some children in leading roles can tank a film — I mean while Haley Joel Osment was good in The Sixth Sense he was clearly a distraction in A.I.

        I’m still waiting for Elle to find the right project and perhaps now as she’s getting older she’ll find a film to showcase her talent. She’s got plenty of time.
        cheers->

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  3. Rodney says:

    I don’t have much to say about Coppola’s work, since I’ve not seen anything she’s made. Yes, even Lost In Translation. I got about ten minutes in and lost interest. As a consequence, this film didn’t’ even become a blip on my radar.

    On the flip-side, I am glad Elle Fanning’s stepping out from her sisters shadow and developing a career in her own right. They’re the next generation of top-tier talent, much like the Pacino/DeNiro combo of the old days.

    • rorydean says:

      I hear you. Lost In Translation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I can see how the quiet space of the story might lose some. I for one was smitten by Murray and I liked Johanson – perhaps for other work or maybe just a culmination of projects, The Girl With The Pearl Earing one that stands out. Sofia Coppola doesn’t have the body of work of her father but she’s definitely going to keep making films and perhaps one will connect with you later.

      And we’ll see how Elle does next with a better film and more interesting story.

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