List Film

Somewhere (4 stars)

Sofia Coppola's quiet and meditative film returns to familiar thematic territory

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Somewhere

(15) 97min

Sofia Coppola returns to familiar thematic territory in her latest take on the dull realities that lie beneath the hedonistic lifestyle of the pampered and the privileged. Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a permanent resident of LA’s infamous Chateau Marmont Hotel, wastes his time on fast cars and fast women – oh, the ennui of it all. But a visit from his young daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning) makes him reassess his priorities.

So far, so hackneyed … perhaps. Coppola has not been without her detractors over the years (Particularly since 2006’s Marie Antoinette), but what these critics have failed to realise is that she is indeed a director who deals, and quite deliberately so, in both visual and cultural clichés and, in this respect, her latest offering is no different. However, Somewhere marks a somewhat radical aesthetic departure for the director, primarily because of the collaboration of cinematographer Harris Savides (Milk, Margot at the Wedding, Zodiac, Greenberg). This is thoughtful and intelligent filmmaking in that content is precisely matched with form: Coppola doesn’t need to tell us Marco’s life is a horrid and utterly depressing void of meaninglessness, tiredness and seemingly endless waiting because we feel this (witness the scene in which Marco waits for a plaster mould of his face to dry rendered through a painfully slow tracking shot into close-up). Also welcome is her pared-down use of music (more soundscape than soundtrack), which serves Coppola’s quiet and meditative film well.

Selected release from Fri 10 Dec.

Somewhere

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 15
  • Directed by: Sofia Coppola
  • Cast: Michelle Monaghan, Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning

Thoughtful and understated filmmaking from Coppola starring Dorff as a bored and partied-out rock star whose hedonistic life is thrown into sharp relief when his estranged daughter Chloe (Fanning) comes for a visit.

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