Rewatched Aug 05, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
"Let's never come here again because it would never be as much fun."
-Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson)
I watched this again for about the hundredth time today (No, really) and to say I love it would be a gross understatement (Again, seriously).
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The first time I watched this a good few years ago, it’s fair to say I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. Sure, it was a great film, and very well made, but I couldn’t for the life of me see why it was awarded such accolades and hailed as a modern masterpiece by most of the critics. Looking back now, I probably needed my head seen to, as this has become one of my favourite films of all time.
For a second feature film from Sofia Coppola (Following The Virgin Suicides), Lost in Translation is a remarkable effort, even more so in that it proves she has raw talent and not just subject to nepotism.
The film is slight in terms of premise and plot, which is likely to alienate a lot of viewers. Lost weaves the tale of Bob Harris (Murray), a washed-up movie star filming commercials in Tokyo. Staying in the same hotel is Charlotte (an excellent Johansson), a young newlywed. Following a brief encounter, the two form an unlikely bond.
One would expect such a story to be style rather than substance, but such is not the case here. It certainly isn’t going to appeal to the mindless action/CGI crowd. Instead it’s a thinking film, an intelligent, thoughtful and poignant portrayal of humanity in all it's beauty.
Coppola’s casting decision of Murray or no film was incredibly reckless, but pays of terrifically. Bill (Whom I love more than any other actor on the planet) delivers the best performance of his whole career. His depiction of the exasperated, aging man is intensely realistic and often hilarious. Scarlet Johansson, although still a teen at the time, is incredible, showing a maturity that makes her classical beautiful. Both are roles that appear tailor-made for them, and them alone. The chemistry between the two is breath-taking, and their numerous encounters are pure magic.
The screenplay also deserves a mention, as, combined with the leads performances, brings the film to life. The Oscar was well and truly deserved, as it is truly wonderful. In all honesty, I’m quite surprised it didn’t win more. Either of the two leads would have been justified in snatching an Academy Award, whilst the magnificent cinematography and shots could have easily won Best Picture in my eyes.
There are two things that, in my opinion, can elevate a film from simply great to truly spectacular. One is if a film can make you think long after the credits have rolled, the other is that which can make you really feel. This film succeeds in both respects astonishingly. It’s dazzling, it’s stunning, it’s marvellous and, above all, achingly beautiful and heartfelt. It’s a startlingly accurate portrait of love, loss and life, a tirelessly fascinating masterpiece with real, human script, setting and characters. It’s rare for me to feel the desire, much less the compulsion, to re-watch a film so soon after viewing it, but this is a world you never want to leave.
VERDICT; Enchanting and utterly compelling. I cannot sing Lost’s praises enough. I implore you to throw that copy of Battleship in the trash, and take this trip to Tokyo instead. It’s an experience to feel with your heart and soul. Perfection? It’s damn near close to it.
5/5 or 10/10