Bill Murray is Funny and Arty

Jesse Christen

Jesse Christen

Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, now playing in Sioux Falls, is a small masterpiece of mood that any thinking film fan should enjoy.

Its plot is relatively simple. A famous actor (Bill Murray) having a mid-life crisis meets a young, married woman (Scarlett Johannson) who is having an early-life crisis in Tokyo, while he is there shooting a commercial. She has tagged along with her ambitious photographer husband. The two of them feel lost, cut off from life and adrift in a society they don’t quite understand.

That’s really all there is to it. There are no big moments, just a succession of small ones designed to evoke the feeling of disconnect that one gets in a foreign country. However, the two principals feel this disconnect all the time and Coppola makes it clear that Japan just makes that disconnection more acute.

The photography is stunning, freewheelingly following Murray and Johannson as they run between parked cars, studying a shrine in Kyoto or making Tokyo look like a beautiful mirage of advertisements.

I would warn those looking for a typical Bill Murray comedy that this is not that. It is an extremely funny movie, but it has no big punchlines instead focusing on melancholy and loneliness. In addition, the movie is extremely character-heavy. There is no giant, over-arching plot. Things just happen and if you allow the movie to cast its spell over you, they will feel like a punch in the gut.

Lost in Translation is a great, great movie that serious cinephiles should enjoy, if only for its ending, which somehow manages to be both completely realistic and the perfect Hollywood ending, wrapping up the film’s storylines.

See this one before its run off the Sioux Falls screen by the latest Hollywood crap-trap.

5 stars(Out of 5)