Friday, March 12, 2004

Japan's people

You know what? I like to think I have my finger on the pulse. I really do. But then certain things conspire to wreck this little fantasy and reveal that in fact I'm about as in touch with The Now as Jeremy Clarkson is with his feminine side.

Case in point: 'Lost In Translation'. EVERYONE saw this ages ago - it's been skinned, gutted and thoroughly dissected on blogs all over the place. Me? Well, I saw it for the first time on Tuesday night. And so here, just for all you nostalgia freaks out there who like a good reminiscence, is what I thunk of it.

It's a very, very good film. The cinematography is wonderful, it features two superb performances from Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen and there are some brilliant scenes - particularly, for me, the karaoke party and the ending.

(Are you sensing a 'but' on its way? Very perceptive of you...)

But I get the impression it thinks it's better than it actually is. Or, at least, it's not quite the masterpiece it's been made out to be. For a slow-moving film in which nothing much happens, it seemed to me curiously rushed at a couple of points (not sure if I could pinpoint those moments, though), and as a similar movie about a particular feeling more than anything else - or feelings plural, of dislocation, displacement, disillusionment - I'd rate 'About Schmidt' more highly. Plus I was inclined to be perverse and a touch cynical about the accompanying music - of course I LOVED hearing My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain through cinema speakers, but including those two bands on the soundtrack is an easy way to score Brownie points with me, and I'm sorry Sofia but I won't let you blind me to your film's occasional and slight weaknesses that cheaply...

Still, it goes without saying that it's leagues better than the standard multiplex fodder.

(Incidentally, an embarrassing fact I'll share with you: when I was younger - oh, much, much younger, kneehigh-to-a-grasshopper sort of age - I didn't believe there was such a place as Kyoto. Oh no. I thought that was just people misspelling Tokyo...)

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