I am in love with Bill Murray. All he has to do is just stand there
on screen and I think he's funny. Plus, his new movie, Lost in Translation has had a lot of good
buzz so my expectations were very high when I went to see it. I am
happy to say that I was not disappointed. Lost in Translation is great. It
tells the story of a washed up movie actor (Bill Murray) who is being paid
$2 million to do a whiskey commercial in Japan. Murray is confused and bemused
by Japan. His feeling of being fish out of water in Tokyo is a microcosm
for his whole life. He is lost and he meets another lost soul (Scarlett Johansson),
a young woman who is in Japan with her photographer Husband (Giovanni Ribisi).
They are staying at the same hotel and begin to gravitate toward each other
after meeting in the hotel bar.
Lost in Translation is written and directed by Sofia Coppola. This is her second feature film after Virgin Suicides. She is becoming very successful in the family business. She is the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, the cousin of Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwarztman (Rushmore) and is married to Spike Jonz (Being John Malkovich). She wrote this script for Bill Murray and then had to pursue him for a year before he signed on. It's hard to imagine anyone else in this role. This is a nice comeback movie for Murray. He hasn't had a good role since Rushmore. Both he and Johansson give very strong performances. Johansson shows that she is making the transition from child actor quite well, in this movie as well as in Ghost World. She was the kid who lost her leg in The Horse Whisperer.
Lost in Translation is not a comedy even though the trailers have been playing up the comedic aspects. There are a lot of funny bits where Murray gets to shine including a Karaoke number and a scene where he is filming the whiskey commercial and all of the director's comments are lost in translation. But this movie is really a mood piece. The pace is purposely very slow. The plot develops very slowly and there are lots of scenes where Murray and Johansson are just talking or even just sitting quietly together. It can be a bit jarring since there are so few movies like this today. You keep thinking that they should have a car chase or something. But it works very well. Lost in Translation is an early Oscar favorite for me for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Go see it!