Oct 082003
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

He battled a pesky groundhog in “Caddyshack” and scary ghosts in

“Ghostbusters,” but now Bill Murray takes on Japan in his new film,

“Lost in Translation.” The dramedy, directed by Sophia Coppola,

continues Murray’s recent tradition of choosing more deep and

introspective roles, and he has never been better.

Murray stars as Bob Harris, a famous American actor who travels

to Tokyo to shoot an ad campaign for a brand of whisky. He quickly

discovers the frustrations that come with the language and culture

differences. Bob eventually meets a fellow American staying at his

hotel and forges an uncommon bond with the young woman.

That young woman is named Charlotte, and played by an appealing

Scarlett Johansson (“Ghost World”). Charlotte is in Tokyo with her

photographer husband, an underused Giovanni Ribisi, and is left to

entertain herself most of the time, since her husband is busy

working.

These two strangers eventually find one another and feed off

each other’s boredom and sleeplessness to experience Japan

together. Charlotte is a recent college graduate and Bob is many

years her senior, yet the two exhibit a convincing connection. Both

of them are involved in lifeless marriages and have similar

reactions to their foreign surroundings.

“Lost in Translation” is essentially a study of life, culture

and unexpected relationships. Tokyo is portrayed as more of a

chaotic video game than a thriving city, but that only acts as a

catalyst to drive these two people together. The more time Bob and

Charlotte spend together, the more invested they get in the

relationship which begins to teeter on the romantic side.

There are scenes in the movie that are very funny, ones that are

almost poetic, and ones that manage to be both. Consider the moment

in which Bill Murray sings karaoke to Roxy Music’s, “More Than

This.” The scene is funny while at the same time strangely

poignant.

Bob and Charlotte are one of the most offbeat pairings in recent

cinema, and Murray and Johansson give great performances as the

duo. Murray could and should get recognition come Oscar time, while

the director and film itself are deserving of nominations as

well.

“Lost in Translation” has been receiving huge critical praise

since opening in select cities last month, and thankfully it

expanded last weekend to more cities, including Fort Collins.

4 out of 4 Rams

 

 

 

 

 

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