This Must Be the Place
Never for money. Always for love.
A bored, retired rock star sets out to find his father's executioner, an ex-Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the U.S.
It is remarkable that a film like This Must be the Place managed to get made let alone work as well as it does. A former rock star goes on an American roadtrip to hunt down the Nazi that humiliated and tortured his now deceased father is an odd starting point for a film. Getting Sean Penn to star in the lead role as a weird amalgamation of Robert Smith and Lily Savage is even more bizarre. Like Wim Wenders most famous films this is an American road movie through the eyes of a European arthouse director (Paolo Sorrentino was responsible for the excellent The Consequences of Love) making for an off-kilter but compelling mix of influences.
I don’t like…
Review from Next Projection
Just how important a component of cinematic storytelling is good cinematography? Certainly a badly shot film is one harder to engage with, but should achievement in aesthetic terms take precedence over those in narrative? It’s a fundamental question of what makes cinema unique, really: are not movies—the moving pictures—defined in terms of the quality and composition of these pictures? Scarcely have such ponderings seemed so relevant as in consideration of This Must Be the Place, the English-language debut of acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, a deeply troubled marriage of stunning visual vistas and tonally unhinged narrative deliverance.
Paramount not only to the story Sorrentino and co-writer Umberto Contarello weave, but also to its flurry of prominent…
Without realizing it, we go from an age where we say: "My life will be that" to an age where we say: "That's life."
Writer/director Paolo Sorrentino first English speaking film stars Sean Penn in a role that was written for him. Penn told Sorrentino that he wanted to work with him after seeing the film Il Divo at the Cannes Film Festival. The only recourse for anyone in film after being told such a thing would be to write a script for Penn to star in, so the director did just that.
It's surprising that it was written for Penn in mind, because it's unlike any character he's played before. Looking like Robert Smith's close brother, playing the…
At times, This Must be the Place feels like a Miranda July film, an overdose of awkward peculiarity. Then it becomes weirdly pretty looking with a Coen brothers-lite kind of vibe. Then it feels Lynchian and mysterious, but closest to The Straight Story in more ways than one. Then it gets Herzogian with a kind of savage discourse between characters with interesting and often hilarious, punch-line kind of dialog and humor. Then it feels a lot like that Ed Norton weirdfest Leaves of Grass, another risk taking prestigious celebrity going down the rabbit hole of deranged method acting. At all times it is comically absurd and more than half of it I'd say is a mess and made no sense…
There are films that can rightly be described as oddities. This one fits the bill rather well with it's slightly loopy premise. When you have a plot centering on a rich former rock star who decides to track down a Nazi war criminal that abused his father ,it's fair to say this isn't your everyday fare. Add Sean Penn as you've never seen him before, and you have the makings of a cult classic. Cult it may well be, but not quite a classic, although I'm sure this will grow on me in future watches.
Sean Penn looks ridiculous. He looks like a hound-dog that's got his head stuck in a make-up bag. He also brings a voice that's almost…
Around the time I started posting frequently on Letterboxd, this picture was everywhere. It spooked me. Not because I have a phobia of Robert Smith. The resemblance is superficial anyway: that's just the hair and styling. The poster looks uncannily like a composite of 3 guys I've dated, and I experienced both compulsion and trepidation about watching the film, finally taking a deep breath and starting to watch it in December.
When Sean Penn as Cheyenne is walking and talking, his appearance is different. He shuffles along like someone 30 years older. (Why? Is it a really bad after effect of the drugs? Was he always like that?) And his voice is so high (the comparison with Lily Savage in…
After seeing Great Beauty I wanted to check out some earlier Sorrentino. TMBTP contains many, MANY disparate elements and it eventually manages to cohere. Penn even manages to frequently transcend the more outlandish elements of his character (and there are many). But a lot of story at the start is completely abandoned which is frustrating as the film is not exactly lacking in stories that it DOES manage to complete.
A strange, ambitious and unsatisfying melange. The lead role, played by Sean Penn's wig, is a burned out rock star with a Dublin mansion, a chirpy firefighting wife, and an estranged Holocaust survivor of a father. A road trip of self-discovery follows, but its thematic connection to Nazi hunting (and/or pop music) remains obscure. Sorrentino has a great eye for light and composition and his film isn't without reward, but his disconnected screenplay could have used a rewrite and perhaps supporting players (e.g. the hardened manhunter, the unlikely comic friend, the all-too-understanding wife, the bereaved mother) who rose above caricature.
I really like it when you just watch a film without really knowing what's it about and it kinda blows your mind. That is what this film did with me.
My girlfriend said that the story and the atmosphere reminded her of the film Garden State. I can totally find myself in that statement. It had definitely the same atmosphere and the story is similar in some degree.
The acting from Sean Penn is amazing! He made you forget him as Sean Penn and make you believe he really was Cheyenne. With a extreme character as Cheyenne i think it is really difficult to make it believable but Sean Penn made it look easy.
One off those films that will always be in my memories.
MOST OF THESE STARS ARE FOR DAVID BYRNE
Another instance of Sorrentino's impressive stylistic excess trying to make up for the weak, almost hollow substance, the result being that the one-hundred-and-seven epiphanies that this film has come across as mere affectations rather than emotional sucker punches they are meant to be.
The tone of this is really all over the place. It's both a strength and a weakness, I think. At least Sorrentino didn't play it safe with his English language debut, but his earlier Italian efforts are more impressive. I'm really looking forward to The Great Beauty, his new one!
An attempt to enter the Anglo mainstream leads to something of a mis-step for Paolo Sorrentino. Sean Penn is as committed as ever and in a better film he would walk home with the Oscar, but it's far too disjointed. Grasping for themes such as obsession and fulfillment, This Must be the Place can't stick to a tone and the result is rather confusing.
Lots of imaginative imagery, well paced, with a strong leading performance from Penn. At times the story wavered but that didn't hamper my overall enjoyment.
"Something's not quite right here. I'm not sure what, but something."
On paper, the two ideas shouldn't work together. Retired rock star searching for the Nazi who humiliated his father during WWII. Yet somehow, it does. I can't imagine this will be seen by many, or that it was even made for that matter, but on originality alone, I appreciate it. Even if I didn't exactly love it.
It's a beautiful looking film with a killer soundtrack. Add to that some solid fucking performances from Penn, the supporting cast and I'm left with a movie that I enjoyed, but didn't fully understand. It's full of emotion, and it's quite heavy at times, I just felt like there was a…