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5 live review: Somewhere

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Mark Kermode | 10:45 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010

5 live's resident movie critic Dr Mark Kermode reviews Somewhere.

Go to Mark on 5 Live for more reviews and film debate.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Mark, don't sit on the fence man, just tell us if you liked it or not!

  • Comment number 2.

    Classic Kermode!

  • Comment number 3.

    Listened to the podcast, with a raging hangover, on the train glad I've seen the motion picture version! Brilliant...

  • Comment number 4.

    Go Dr K!
    I actually qite liked Marie Antoinette and I didn't mind bits of Lost in Translation. so I'm willing to give Somewhere a chance but I also trust Dr K's opinion (except for his glowing review of Possession!). Hmmm which way to go? There's only one way to find out....FIGHT!

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree somewhat with Dr K's review but for me Somewhere was an effective but flawed that delved into a quite frustratingly listless character.

    Like Lost in Translation, Somewhere uses a minimalist approach to explore a character stuck in some kind of celebrity limbo who only grows once he comes into contact with a younger, slightly less jaded female; in this case his daughter. Unlike Lost in Translation (which I consider to be one of the finest films of the decade) Somewhere just doesn't engage enough, mostly because the central character, Johnny just isn't interesting enough. It's fine for him to brush away wannabe actors at a party in a nonchalant way suggesting he's feigning stupidity but, sadly, once you find out his is actually genuinely quite dim and monosyllabic the interest wavers. The dialogue lacks the wit of LIT, the characters lack the connection and the plot lack a lot of direction.
    Also when Coppalla recycles the exact sames scenes from LIT it stinks of unoriginality. The most obvious are the extended Italian translation that Dr K played. Also his daughters disdainful mood during breakfast after Johnny spends the night with a random stranger directly mirrors the dinner scene in LIT when Scarlett Johansson is anooyed at Bill Murry for sleeping with the singer.

    However it really does have its moments. Dorff is perfectly cast as Johnny, somewhere between an apathetic Jack Nicholson's and a despondent Christian Slater. Chris Pointius is also surprisingly well cast as his layabout, stoner friend and brings much needed engagement to conversations that are hindered by Johnny's almost perpetual catatonia.
    Visually the film is brilliant with Coppala's usual dreamy, slightly hazy tint hanging over the scenes. The opening shot, a Ferrari racing in and out of the frame on a deserted racetrack is one of the best opening shots I've seen all year and perfectly visualisation of Johnny - appearing to be fast and racy but ultimately going round in circles, mostly away from the public eye in a subdued hum.
    Other good visual ideas include Johnny prowling over his balcony at looking at the people below, drinking tea with his daughter in the swimming pool as they finally start to bond, when he shouts to her from under the spinning blades of a helicopter that he should have been around more and the final "escape" that, while not fully satisfying, is a commendable ending.

    Ultimately the film is sadly not engaging enough and Johnny not interesting enough to spend such a prolonged period of time with. But that doesn't make it a terrible film. Just a slightly frustrating one.

  • Comment number 6.

    The third best rant of the year. The first being SATC 2 then Eat,Prey Love

  • Comment number 7.

    To me Lost In translation was brilliant from start to finish and is my #1 film of the 00's. I have reasonably hugh hope for Somewhere :)

  • Comment number 8.

    And I still want to see it. I doubt it's as Warhol non-film as Kermode's making it out to be.

  • Comment number 9.

    Lost In translation is great. The end works despite the chilled, insular atmosphere (maybe because of it), and both Johansson and Murray form a great 'odd couple'.

    Maybe it's just the difference between this being set in a Hollywood hideaway as opposed to Japan but I have no interest in seeing Somewhere.

  • Comment number 10.

    if you think Lost in Translation was somewhat insubstanital then somewhere is positively non existent. ha!

    up there with his best reviews ever!

  • Comment number 11.

    "He goes "Yeah...". And the guy does. Plays him a song. The whole song."

    hahahahahaha :)

    I think I'll still watch the movie. If only to see which Nintendo games they're playing. ;) And the pole dancing, of course.

  • Comment number 12.

    If you were dead you'd be home now? That's an interesting t-shirt. haha :)

  • Comment number 13.

    To think this rubbish won in Venice, yet again proving how clueless Tarantino can be.

  • Comment number 14.

    Can we please pick on The Virgin Suicides now? I read the book and found it moderately interesting and then I watched the movie. What brilliant auteur had the idea of staging a film where the book was essentially read to you pretty much word for word (it's a slim volume) while mundane images that illustrated the words that were being read to you were depicted on screen? I thought "holy s-word, I'm unimaginative enough to have directed that film".

  • Comment number 15.

    Thank God somebody else feels the same way about Lost In Translation, I thought I was the only one. All my friends think it is one of the most wonderful films they have ever seen. I thought I must have fallen asleep during the good parts, but no, it turns out I was right, they were wrong, I can rest easy.

  • Comment number 16.

    Wow! That's a record number of incomplete sentences! Is The Good Doctor in danger of having the level of anger in his reviews defined by negative space?

    This. Film. Looks. Horrible. Wandering around aimlessly, I suppose we can sympathise with that to an extent. However, wandering around aimlessly when you have the money to get up, and go and pursue whatever career or philanthropy you want at any time *but still being miserable by choosing not to* - ah, not so much. There's a recession on Sofia. We're not gonna let you get away with another Lost in Translation, love. Methinks it's time to go back to Winter's Bone and watch people and conflicts that matter. Or Toy Story 3, for the same reasons.

  • Comment number 17.

    In a nut shell
    Stephen drives his black Ferrari down the freeway (for 5 mins)
    Stephen meets Elli and they park the Ferrari and walk across the car park (for 5 mins)
    Stephen and Elli go to a camp shop, park the car get out, but stuff and get back in (for 5 mins)
    Stephen and Elli eat a burger
    Stephen and Ellie drive to Vegas get into a chopper, land, then get into a taxi (another 5 mins)
    Stephen drives his black Friarie down the freeway (for 5 mins)
    The end.

  • Comment number 18.

    On another note but also it is part of the same edition of Wittertainment, I was interested to hear Dr K's thoughts on A Serbian Film. I shall give that one a wide berth - which I always intended to anyway, but even more so now. Thanks so much for letting us know what your thought Dr K. You were right for saying that you felt you had to see it, as a serious and trusted film critic. By doing this you provide an insight into the films that the public may be wary of, it's much appreciated.

  • Comment number 19.

    Wow Dr K does have a really tiny microphone, maybe 'they' think if he had a proper mic he might damage it whilst in full flappy rant.

  • Comment number 20.

    This is not strictly relevant, but I thought that such an insult to Mark should be known to his followers...

    Was the title and the casting, and the whole movie, in fact a sneaky attack on the real "Good Doctor"'s remarks?

    Please give your opinions on this!

  • Comment number 21.

    Orloomdo Bland as 'The Good Doctor', that's a bit below th belt, surely. It's not being directed by Micheal Bay is it?

  • Comment number 22.

    Loved the rant on the podcast, even more so on video.

    Why is it that Sophia Coppola thinks we find a has-been actor's life interesting? What complete and utter TOSH! When is she going to learn that life is more interesting if you just look around. I'm sure if she moved the camera away from the non-action, then something more worthwhile would have been captured.

    Whatever happened to an interesting narrative that takes your mind and senses on a wonderful journey.

    Thank you to the good Dr for a most enjoyable rant.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ Mike Hunt

    I think The Good Doctor need only worry, if the eponymous character's being played by Robert Webb. Remember the atmosphere in that room with the review of Magicians still fresh in his mind? Ssssss - ow.

  • Comment number 24.

    After being fed up with Sofia Coppola for her crass racial stereotyping of Japanese people in Lost in Translation, I have no particular interest in seeing Somewhere (which seems to be going nowhere).

    But the clips I saw of the bored, drunken, womanising celebrity actor in Italy, together with other plot elements, seem to be lifted straight from Fellini's Toby Dammit (from Histoires Extraordinaires) with Terence Stamp. Note that both films feature the actor in a Ferrari, and a crashed Ferrari. Even the daughter Elle might have been modelled on the "innocent" girl appearing at the end of Toby Dammit.

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't understand the Golden Globes love affair with Johnny Depp.. In my opinion, he hasn't done anything very interesting since Blow. It seems to me if Johnny Depp were to star in a musical remake of A Birth of Nation as done by Rob Marshall, the Golden Globes would nominate it and him just for Depp's involvement.

  • Comment number 26.

    best film review ever.

  • Comment number 27.

    What does the good doctor think of Sofia's debut The virgin Suicides? I think of it as a pretty well made and substantial directorial first outing which has not been built on.

  • Comment number 28.

    Somehow whenever I hear someone thrash Somewhere thoroughly, and being a divisive film it happens about half the time, they somehow make it out to be the perfect exploration of that which the film seems to explore: The banality of a life so filled with things that are supposedly the cure to banality. If an audience can be bored out of their minds to a pair of strippers, why not him? Then, of course, it happens again, which brings up my second point: Why are the same people who love the similarly monotonous 'sculpting in time' of deliberately repetitive sequences in films like Bergman's Persona or Joe's Syndromes and a Century (I don't know that you are a fan of that one, but you were a fan of Boonmee) so hostile to a similarly functioning bit of repetition here? Now, you may say that those two featured a shift in perspective and dialogue, but is not the whole point of the sequence in Somewhere to emphasize the emptiness of the man's life? Listening to you praise Inception for not treating its mainstream audience like idiots who can't think for themselves you would think that you would praise Coppola for not treating her audience, whoever they may be, like people who can only focus on belly-button lint when a film is 'navel gazing'. But, then, that's just a perspective from the uninitiated. All I know is that your unrelenting bashing of the film made it out to be a perfect example of that bastard child of Antonioni, the 'alienation and ennui' genre/style/whatever, of which Joe himself seems a direct descendant. I thought the end of Syndromes was straight out of L'eclisse!

    Now, if I may make a suggestion for those who do love the cinema of ennui/alienation/whatever, check out Angela Schanelec's Marseille. Stunningly amazing and strangely ignored by all those who don't have it near the top of their best films of the decade.


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