Lost in Translation (2003)

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by Lyle Horowitz, May 11, 2004.

  1. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    I just finished writing this, for my school newspaper; so I thought I'd post it here. I abandoned star ratings for my reviews, because I believe that people will just glance at my rating and not read the review. It would be longer; but I have space constraints.


    Lost in Translation (2003)
    Review by: Lyle Horowitz

    Every so often, as the saying goes; a film comes out devoid of Oscar buzz, all-star casts, and a larger-than-life budget. Lost in Translation is a film that started off with great critical acclaim, followed by a growing fan base, and then finally, come Oscar season, major nominations. However, many people are split on the film. Some people say it’s a brilliant character-driven masterpiece with amazing performances and gorgeous sets; others call it a pretentious bore with “non-performances. I’ve heard many describe Lost in Translation as a “love it or hate it,” type film, but in reality, I don’t love it or hate it. Coppolla, who seemingly is heavily influenced by directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless was a strong influence on this film), and Akira Kurosawa (who’s 1954 film Ikiru makes an amazing companion piece to Lost in Translation); has a good eye, but also ends up making the film very manipulative. It’s been about three months since I’ve seen Lost in Translation, and I’m glad I’ve waited so long to review it, since you really need to let the film sit with you for a while before you can call it the best/worst film you’ve ever seen. Lost in Translation is certainly a mood piece, and in that respect, it achieves everything it is going for. Bill Murray was very good in the film, but definitely not deserving of the Best Actor award. The way he handled the loss as well was extremely unprofessional, but alas, this has nothing to do with my assessment of the film. Scarlett Johansson; while she looks good in the film; doesn’t really add anything to it. Anyone else could have played the part, which doesn’t make her performance anything special. There is no one else to really discuss, and this is where one of my main problems lie with the film. The film alienated the viewer. And while I understand it may have been Ms. Tarantin--oh, I meant Ms. Coppolla’s intention; the film ended up making everyone outside of Bill and Scarlett’s relationship seem at fault, just for asking questions (Murray’s wife), having sex with no prior knowledge of a relationship (Nightclub singer), and being busy making money (Scarlett’s husband). The best scenes in the film are when Murray is shooting the talk show and the whiskey commercial. These scenes show off where Murray’s real talents lie; in comedy. Unlike Jim Carrey in the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Murray does not shine in a dramatic role; although his performance is still very good. I can’t believe my reaction to the film when I first saw it. I heard so many great things, I actually convinced myself that I liked it. I felt like I was a cheat, however, and my opinion of the film gradually lowered. Don’t get me wrong, while I am speaking mostly negative of Lost in Translation, it is a good film, but hardly the “be-all-end-all” of cinema like many people claim. I don’t doubt the fact that people legitimately like the film, I just wonder why they like it so much. Truth be told, I am getting a little tired of films with characters just staring blankly at the screen with nothing much happening in the film; yet people will go out of their way calling it “darkly humorous”, “high art”, and “brilliant”. In the end, Lost in Translation feels like a dry sandwich. It’s not particularly good; but on the same token; at least it’s not particularly bad. 5/10/04
     
  2. moogong

    moogong Arte Suave

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    I agree with your review. I understand the human element this film was trying to get across but I found it totally boring and uneventful. It had a few moments I enjoyed but overall it was a huge dissapointment.

    The biggest laugh came from the Camron Diaz impression by Anna Ferris.
     
  3. Mark Relford

    Mark Relford Chairman of the Bored

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    You guys weren't enthralled with LiT!?;) It's good to know that there's a few out there. I wanted to like this movie, but I just couldn't get into it. The Virgin Suicides was a more satisfying movie experience.
     
  4. Revoltor

    Revoltor Guest

    This movie was terrible and made me lose a lot of trust in what people say.

    Like many have said before me, if it was named Lost in Mexico, no one would give a shit about it.
     
  5. slinker

    slinker Un-Holy Force.

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    This was my favorite film of last year, i thought everything about it was spot on! in fact its just made it into my favorite films of all time list.

    It summed up relationships and marriages from 2 different perspectives and showed us how 2 people can affect each others lives in a distant and alien setting. The emptyness that an affair can produce when all you yearn for is a decent 2 way relationship and not that sense of `comfort with each other` that people often pass off as a decent lasting marriage!

    Maybe it echoed some of my past and thats why i liked it so much ?
    who knows, anyway i for one really enjoyed it and thought all the performances were great. 10/10 from me :)
     
  6. The Chaostar

    The Chaostar Johnny Hallyday forever

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    Loved it. Loved it so much, it left me being a better person afterwards. Very few movies have that power over me after all these years.
     
  7. Mattster

    Mattster Guest

    Thought it was pretty blah. Felt like I was watching Mulholland Drive or Swimming Pool without the violence/sex/mystery.
     
  8. lakini71

    lakini71 New Member

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    I felt that this was the biggest disappointment of 2003. Bill Murray did nothing special in his performance; basically he was playing Bill Murray.
    And since the two main characters are not fleshed out very well, I had no connection with them; they seem more bored than lost. There were good moments here and there, but for the life of me, I can not understand what so many people see in this film.
     
  9. Damed

    Damed Guest

    I understood the movie, and what it was trying to get across. I think Murray's performance was fantastic.

    but I don't get what the big deal is all about. It was ok.. not "great" by any means.

    Oh well, to each their own.

    I felt the same way about "Punch Drunk Love" when I seen that.
     
  10. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    Now THERE'S a great movie. :)

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the horrible cliched dialouge ("Does it get any...easier?") and how much I enjoyed the scene with Bill Murray excercising, then walking down the hall of the hotel. :p
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2004
  11. John Gargo

    John Gargo Guest

    Brilliant movie and, aside from KILL BILL: VOLUME 1, the best film of the year... Sofia Coppolla's film reminded me very much of the best of Antonioni's work, in that almost nothing happens in the film and yet I was left absolutely enthralled by it. Bill Murray gives the performance of his career and this awesome feeling of loneliness and alienation transcends the material. The dialogue is 100% authentic and about as far away from Hollywood cliches as you can get. Oh, and let's not forget that incredible ending.

    It's a shame that people won't be able to view this the way it's supposed to be viewed... without the hype and critical buzz surrounding it. This is the wrong kind of film for that, and I feel that a lot of people who reacted negatively to it were effected by this. This is the kind of flick you discover on your own and absorb yourself in... It's a deeply personal work, and should be approached as so rather than as critical study of "manipulation." That's the wrong approach to take here, IMO, and there's nothing manipulating about this flick.

    I'll be revisiting this masterpiece again and again on DVD. 5/5
     
  12. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Member

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    This is an excellent point. Every now and then an indie film breaks through and then gets overhyped as "Lost in Translation" was. Then people go in with unreal expectations and feel cheated.

    Having said that, in my opinion the film is just average but I will certainly watch it again at some point. I wish that another indie film, "American Splendor" had got half of the attention that "Lost..." did. That was a far more original, entertaining and moving film.
     
  13. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    I get why straight, middle-aged male critics were flattered by Lost in Translation, but what's everyone else's excuse? Sofia Coppola's inventory of cool—the most expensive Marc Jacobs campaign ever—valorizes the hipster who thinks she's smarter and more "real" than all the other hipsters. This precious universe would collapse from its narcissism were it not for Murray, a neighing Helmut Lang clotheshorse. -- Nate Lee; Village Voice

    :D
     
  14. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    I didn't say it, don't roll your eyes at ME. :glasses:
     
  15. Lyle Horowitz

    Lyle Horowitz Miscreant

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    :banana: :banana: :banana:

    Those are directed specifically at onebyone. What gauntlet has been thrown down? :glasses:
     
  16. Mr Peabody

    Mr Peabody Guest

    My second favorite film of 2003. My favorite being: The Station Agent.
     
  17. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I saw this for the first time last night.

    It's an okay, not great film. I have two comments to make, and I have yet to read anyone else in this thread state them.

    Firstly, the racial steroetyping in this film was heinous. From dumb prostitutes muttering "Lip my stockings", to taking the piss out of restaurant staff, it was rather sad to see these juvenile insults pass as humor in a supposedly adult movie. Coppola's script showed me that she views the Japanese through cynical American eyes. She was the worst kind of tourist, and it fed through to Murray's character. truly awful.

    Secondly, and I'll stick my neck out here, Bill Murray was miscast. If you want to make a serious drama, with a spattering of humor (without making it a comedy) then maybe casting someone who doesn't have a constant smirk on his face would have been better? That's not a knock on Murray, by the way, what he does best is comedy, and in that context, a smirk is good. Honestly though, was I the only one who thought he'd basically played a slightly more sane Bob Wiley from "What About Bob"? To me, Murray just can't pull off the truly serious role.

    These two combined to ruin the overall movie to me. There was a lot to like, I like the location shooting, and the young woman at the center of the piece was excellent, imo. However, the racial stereotyping and Murray's weak performance made the thing a lot less than it could have been.

    Oh, and an Oscar? For what? I'm tired of people in Hollywood wanting to pat themselves on the back through the Oscar ceremony for making one semi-literate film a year. If a film truly has a modicum of intelligence, promoters fall over themselves calling for awards to be heaped. Lost in Translation wasn't worthy, not by a long chalk.
     
  18. Tuzotonic

    Tuzotonic Guest

    Originally when I heard how "great" this movie was from every reviewer in the country, I told myself I had to see it. Well I saw and while I really liked it, I couldn't understand all of the hype and praise surrounding it. First of all, Bill Murray played himself. I mean if you came up to him in a bar, he would act the same way he did in this movie. It's one long cameo for him. This reminded me of a move I would see on Comedy Central and not a movie worthy of oscar nominations. Was it a good story about human relationships and communication between people of different cultures? Yes, it was but it was also overrated. Scarlett Johanssen was good in it and will be famous for many years to come, but for me the funniest and most entertaining character was played by Anna Faris (who is an absolute cutie). She's cracks me up. My complain was that she was only in it for a few minutes. She needs to be in more movies. Yes, I know the story was about the two main characters but she stole the scene everytime she was on camera. I guess Sophia Coppola has her father to thank for all of the praise and oscar nominations this movie received.
     
  19. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    -- but for me the funniest and most entertaining character was played by Anna Faris--

    Actually, while she's cute, for the life of me, I really couldn't see the point of her character in this film. I'd have cut it completely.
     

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