Sunday, 6 February 2011


I really wanted to love Somewhere but it’s just so infuriatingly patchy. There are moments that made me want to jump for joy, scenes that gave me goosebumps, and jokes that made me laugh like a hyena. But there are also long moments of wrist-slashing tedium. And perhaps that’s the point: this movie star’s life is really not that exciting.

The movie star in question is Johnny Marco played with serious conviction by Stephen Dorff in a role not a million miles away from (and I think he’d agree)… Stephen Dorff. Maximum respect to the Dorff for embracing this self-referential-way-close-to-the-bone piece of casting. When you’ve starred in Space Truckers it must take some balls to, basically, play yourself.

Johnny Marco, star of many an action flick is holed up at the Chateau Marmont with a broken arm. He spends his days spinning round the area in his Ferrari, sipping beer, and shagging anything in a skirt – all the while experiencing existential angst/midlife crisis as much as a shell of a person can. (Which he is.) His estranged 11 year-old daughter turns up in the shape of Elle Fanning. She is delightful and charming and shacks up with him in this place where hedonism is king. (Where John Belushi and Helmut Newton – to name just two - really did “check out”.) To give writer and director Sofia Coppola credit, it doesn’t descend into cheesy cliché but I don’t want to give too much away. The route father and daughter take mostly revolves around their suite in the hotel but also involves a wild and hilarious sojourn to Rome. As I say, some of what ensues is hilarious but a lot isn’t.

Sofia Coppola is touched by genius (i.e. her Pops) and not only is she a welcome force of female directordom, she has created her own genre: she makes films about miserable, rich people. Following Scorsese’s creed, “write what you know” she has once again done just that. As with Lost in Translation it is fascinating to us, the oi polloi. I just hope her next instalment is a tad more interesting…


  1. Lost in Translation: The Early Years?

  2. Am I alone in thinking Coppola jnr is stuck in a cycle of filmmaking that only reveals her own life story?
    I have yet to see 'Somewhere' but it does for all intents and purposes seem like 'Lost in Translation' without the discipline of a decent editor. Both stories have been reported to come from her own personal experiences. One a liason with Harrison Ford while with Spike Jonze the other from life following her father around.
    Repeated tales of the extremely privileged being mildly bored (see also Marie Antoinette) leave me less and less eager for the next Sofia Coppola picture. I've no doubt that she is a talented filmmaker but is she a talented Director? Give me a rollicking Die Hard: Die Harderest with a revengeance 5.02333788 and I'm yours.

    Your thoughts on a postcard please.