Pros: Acting is solid as is cinematography
Cons: Painfully slow
Sofia Coppola’s latest film has a lot in common with her greatest success Lost in Translation but is so uncommercial that it will never cross over to the mainstream the way that film did. Somewhere has a lot of very long takes, the opening shot is of a Ferrari doing laps in the desert and seems to go on forever. Having said that I did find the film strangely affecting.
Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a fading Hollywood star in his late thirties. His life is filled with glamour but he has become bored by of all of it. We see Johnny fall asleep during a show in his room by two stunning strippers, we also see him go to parties and feel utterly disconnected from all of it. Considering he is in every seen and most of the scenes are based on Johnny sitting still and smoking (a lot) Dorff does remarkably well in these opening scenes. Conveying a lot of emotion and inner sadness by not doing very much. Marco lives out his hollow existence in La’s Chateau Marmont and it seems that we are watching a character who is about to have some kind of mental episode.Instead his eleven year old daughter is dropped off to stay with him for a while as her mother is unexpectedly out of town. This brings Marco to life and the way he suddenly changes to someone constantly looking at his daughter with love and making sure she is okay is really moving. Marco discovers a purpose again and suddenly there is hope. As an audience this about face is the emotional core of the journey and it works very well leading to some funny moments as we see Marco now accompanied by his daughter on the press tour for his latest movie and realizing the absurdity of it all.
Sofia Coppola has made a good film here, not a great one. Its not on a par with Lost In Translation or The Virgin Suicides but it is a very languid and artful look at a character in crisis with a great final shot and a pretty good soundtrack. I can recommend this to people who like cinema but not to people who like movies. Take that as you will.