Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#117. Lost in Translation (2003)

DVD Synopsis: Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are two Americans in Tokyo. Bob is a movie star in town to shoot a whiskey commercial, while Charlotte is a young woman tagging along with her workaholic photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi). Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This chance meeting soon becomes a surprising friendship. Charlotte and Bob venture through Tokyo, having often hilarious encounters with its citizens, and ultimately discover a new belief in life's possibilities.

Lost in Translation relies heavily on the chemistry of its two leads, and both Scarlett Johannson and Bill Murray were definitely up to the challenge.

Johannson’s Charlotte is a confused young woman, a recent college graduate who questions her decision to travel to Japan with her new husband (played by Giovanni Ribisi). There are wonderfully observant scenes where Charlotte, left alone in a strange country, wanders the streets of Tokyo as well as the surrounding area. She sees a great deal of the city, and even makes some interesting discoveries, yet remains confused... lost... looking for something, anything, to help her find her way. 

As portrayed by Bill Murray, Bob Harris, an actor in Japan to shoot a whiskey commercial, is a more passive traveler, choosing to stay within the confines of the hotel, rarely venturing out into the open air. Bill Murray brings a number of elements to his performance, ranging from humor (the scenes where he’s shooting the commercial are hilarious) to a sense of despondency (a phone conversation with his wife is strained at best). Murray’s character is seemingly trapped in a country where he does not fit in. 

And then Bob meets Charlotte. 

Charlotte is finally able to lure Bob out of the hotel, inviting him to a party being thrown by several of her new Japanese friends. In what is the film’s most uplifting, defining moment, Bob and Charlotte end up at a karaoke bar. As Charlotte sings The Pretenders hit song, Brass in Pocket, Bob watches her, and as Bob sings Roxy Music’s More Than This. Charlotte watches him. In this one scene, we see in their eyes the bond that has just formed between them. Bob has found his much-needed spark, and Charlotte has found her guide. 

The Tokyo experience has just improved leaps and bounds for both of them.


mozzer232 said...

One of my favorites. So many people loathe this movie, but they just don't get it. I feel the misery and joyful release of both characters in the film. The soundtrack lends itself to it perfectly. Now I want to watch it!

frshpilot said...

Fun movie - everyone should travel to Japan

Jake Moore AKA: @RiverCityOtter said...

"Lost In Translation" A big fave of mine too one of the few I rated 10/10 on #IMDB ! My fave Sofia Coppola directed & this is a tough call Bill Murray acted film! The opening credit sequence zoomed in on Scarlett Johansson in pure cinematic visual delight! The setting of Tokyo the city takes on a life as a character it's own! The ying & yang chemistry between the leads starts slow but turns magical! Pure filmmaking I heard Coppola shot in gorilla fashion to great results!