Saturday, September 20, 2003

Lost in Translation (IMDB) (Netflix)
Being alone in Tokyo is a tough gig, whether you're an over-the-hill movie star doing some commercials that will only be seen in Japan (Bill Murray) or the wife along for the ride of her photographer-husband's business trip (Scarlett Johansson). There are so many people, no hiding that you're a foreigner, a language that you can't begin to decipher and the cab drivers wear white gloves while they pop open the passenger door from their seat (as the Brits might say, "Mind the steel panel hurtling for your naughty bits"). Directed by Sophia Coppola, who was widely reviled for her last-minute substitution performance in her dad's Godfather III, but lauded for her directorial debut The Virgin Suicides.

Having done Tokyo under similar circumstances, I can confirm that "Lost" nicely captures that truly alone feeling, reminding me that the scariest part is being forced to confront who you really are. The early scenes of Murray doing his whiskey ads are terrific, if perhaps too Murray-esque, and the relationship between him and Johansson seems authentic. The supporting characters and their performances are less nuanced, but a minor distraction. A nice little relationship movie that even guys will handle with aplomb.