Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola’s second written and directed feature film shows that she’s an auteur to be reckoned with in her own right, no longer living under daddy’s (sizable) industry shadow. Unlike many people, I thoroughly enjoyed The Virgin Suicides, so it was with welcome relief that Lost in Translation confirmed Coppola’s talent. Lost in Translation seems to have polarised audiences; there’s no middle ground, you either love it or hate it. I, as you’ve surmised by now, loved it. Coppola extracted the best and most subtle performance I’ve ever seen from Bill Murray as the aging movie star protagonist, Bob Harris. Combined with Scarlett Johansson’s wonderfully lost character Charlotte, Coppola manages to map a world of neon, jetlag and culture shock, otherwise known as Tokyo. As Bob is paid to millions to endorse a Japanese whiskey, and Charlotte drifts in her inattentive photographer husband’s wake, the two gravitate together as insomnia and a hotel bar see an unlikely friendship kindled between the two. Charlotte is searching for direction, while Bob has almost given up on his, and the two bond surprisingly intensely over karaoke, sushi and cultural displacement (but not really wanting to return to their ‘real’ lives, either). Coppola wrote the character of Bob with Murray in mind, and she milks his usual dark humour for all its worth. Johansson, by contrast, brings a certain naiveté to her role, but the two mix perfectly. Combined with some brilliant scenes and amazing cinematography, Coppola shows no fear as a director. Some shots seem to last forever, but end up capturing the sense of people out of time, out of their comfort zone, with precision. Murray and Johansson are definitely Oscar contenders for their work on Lost in Translation and while Coppola might not have been in the trade long enough for a Best Director nod as yet, she’s definitely well on the way. A must-see film!