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Hollywood actor Johnny Marco, nested in his luxury hotel of choice, is a stimulated man. Drinking, parties and women keep a creeping boredom under wraps in between jobs. He is the occasional father of a bright girl, Cleo, who may be spoiled but doesn't act it. When Cleo's mother drops her off and leaves town, Johnny brings her along for the ride, but can he fit an 11-year-old girl into his privileged lifestyle? Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
'Somewhere' anatomizes the mindset of a man who has everything - except purpose. Johnny Marco is a thriving Hollywood actor but his soul is adrift on the sea of ennui which afflicts those to whom life denies nothing he lacks meaningful relationships and doesn't know what to do with himself between projects.
In classic European art-house style Coppola evokes Marco's inner desolation through the extensive use of eccentrically framed, lingering, static, wide shots in which the focus of attention listlessly enters and leaves frame. And she does this relentlessly throughout the movie to the point that, like Marco, you just want to give up. Yes the guy is a bit defocused, a bit haunted and generally of a bit of a mid life plateau and yes these attributes are successfully evoked by the directorial style, but the result is so anodyne that you just want to watch a film about a guy with some real reasons to be miserable.
Naturally you're hoping he'll rediscover his mojo through his relationship with his daughter and work out what to do with his life but given the film's obvious anti-Hollywood credentials, you feel your optimism for any kind of resolution seeping away just like Johnny Marco's.
I imagine that if you are the daughter of a like-able, pampered but lost Marco figure, drowning in existential anxiety, then this character study is pretty poignant but it's really no more than a letter from Coppola to her father and, of course, a gift to the type of film-goer for whom every aspect of the human condition, including boredom - is interesting.
Sometimes less is more; sometimes it's just less.
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