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.