Phil's Review of Lost In Translation
Lost In Translation(2003)
Had to rewatch this as I've now been to Japan and seen it for myself. It makes the film much more believable and touches me in a different way now, a whole new experience as I can relate to the story and the surroundings.
The thing that struck me is how accurate the film is, I know exactly how the main characters feel (mainly Johansson) in and amongst the huge sprawling, towering, crowded metropolis that is Tokyo. The strange feeling of being alone around hundreds and not being able to communicate, not really being noticed, it is a perfect visual picture of feeling isolated or living in a strange solitary state.
Coppola captures the small niches of the country and its people, how they live, eat and relax etc...its a very different world believe me and you can see this in Coppola's direction and use of locations. Of course the performances by Murray and Johansson are brilliant, just right, understated and subtle. Murray starts off in his familiar dry satire type way but evolves into a much deeper person, finishing on a very emotional finale that does put a lump in your throat. And not forgetting Faris as the superstar airhead, very good (and accurate) portrayal there, loved it.
The atmosphere and visuals of the film are glorious of course, being filmed entirely in Tokyo and a little in Kyoto. It all looks so familiar now, makes me wanna go back. Much of the film was actually filmed live too, in front of hundreds of Japanese people who had no clue they were making a film! again that's impressive believe me. It also shows how different the Japanese are, no one batted an eyelid to the filming, they saw it as normal or uninteresting and no one recognised Bill Murray. Not a clue who he was and they didn't much care either, anywhere else and people would crowd around making a huge scene.
The plot is loose and pretty dull in places I admit, if you have no interest in Japan then you won't like this methinks. I believe a little interest in the country/culture helps here. But essentially its just the two main characters chatting, eating, meeting and going about their daily routines in Tokyo. Over time they fall in love but can't seem to reach out and express this to each other. They both have family/relationship situations which hold them back and make things difficult, its actually quite a realistic little story.
Wandering around Tokyo lost a daze of neon lights and bizarre cultural differences. Murray is good with his little work/business sequences (dotted throughout) which offer some comedy, whilst Johansson does more discovering with a segment in Kyoto. A great couple of scenes with Faris offer more laughs when she promotes a Western action flick her character stars in. And a glorious small dinner sequence with Johansson, Faris and the underrated Giovanni Ribisi which involves much awkward small talk and slobbering as Faris and Ribisi's characters flirt.
Can't not mention the touching, soft, emotional almost spiritual soundtrack throughout. Absolutely gorgeous choices of music which compliment the individual sequences beautifully. As said the ending is a real tear jerker which you don't think will get you but it actually does. The track by 'The Jesus and Mary Chain' is playing as Murray's character leaves Johansson behind, gotta say this choked me up as its a lovely scene and really makes you care for the characters.
A classic underrated love tale that manages to grab you when you think your above it. A surprise hit for me plus a wonderful memory of a beautiful country.