Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
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Cheyenne, a wealthy former rock star (Penn), now bored and jaded in his retirement embarks on a quest to find his father's persecutor, an ex-Nazi war criminal now hiding out in the U.S. Learning his father is close to death, he travels to New York in the hope of being reconciled with him during his final hours, only to arrive too late. Having been estranged for over 30 years, it is only now in death that he learns the true extent of his father's humiliation in Auschwitz at the hands of former SS Officer Aloise Lange - an event he is determined to avenge. So begins a life-altering journey across the heartland of America to track down and confront his father's nemesis. As his quest unfolds, Cheyenne is reawakened by the people he encounters and his journey is transformed into one of reconciliation and self discovery. As his date with destiny arrives and he tracks down Lange, Cheyenne must finally decide if it is redemption he seeks ....or revenge. Starring two time Academy Award winner ...Written by
Lord I'm Coming
Written by Gavin Friday (as G. Friday) and Herbie Macken (as H. Macken)
Performed by Gavin Friday
Taken from the album 'catholic' released by Rubyworks Records
Produced and mixed by Ken Thomas
Recorded by Jolyon Vaughan Thomas
Engineered by Jolyon Vaughan Thomas and Herbie Macken See more »
Weird on purpose, and imperfect and overdone despite its deliberations
This Must Be the Place (2011)
Sean Penn tries very hard in this film, taking on a role of the worn out and disturbed rock star (Cheyenne) living in isolation. His character is weirdly ambiguous—and just plain weird—somewhere between a cross-dresser, a transvestite, and a myopic hedonist. He is something like "the idiot" of literature who seems completely out of touch but also has a wisdom and aloof perspective others do not.
It sometimes works. The movie itself is filled with ambiguity, and not in an enchanting way. Since it does not charm by its aura and filmic intention (it has little of either), it should give us a better sense of what exactly is going on. Oh, you'll get the drift, and you'll pick up on the Cheyenne's regret and melancholy. And you might understand he hits the road in a bumbling search for some evil-doer geriatric Nazi (I'm serious) that no other person is better qualified to pursue.
Well, any movie that pushes into its own sphere with some enthusiasm is worth watching, to me. I'm glad I did. But I can use my experience to warn a viewer that it's a personal calling here. Penn alone is reason to either hate or like the film, his overacting reminding me mostly that there are people who are really like this character who would have done much better. Instead we feel him acting all the time. It should be said that some of the other actors are forced to push their performances, too.
One curious aspect to the film I loved was all the versions of the one song in the film, "Home" or "This Must Be the Place" by the Talking Heads (and performed by all kinds of people including David Byrne himself in a small, very tacked-on cameo). Some of the versions are so different you might not even catch that it's the same song again. Listen.
So what's the point of all this angst and campy sadness? I think it's about the rediscovery of this Cheyenne's self. His real self, a person with normal qualities. He succeeds by breaking out of his self-imposed hermetic world and in a way it's a warm and almost terrific experience. For him and for the viewer. But for all its intentions it felt forced to me. There wasn't enough supporting material, not enough ambiance, and not enough character development (oddly enough, since it's all about Cheyenne's character). There is so much time spent on superficial aspects we never really get into the depths that might be here. Maybe.
I want to think of this as a 10 star dream with a 4 star soul. That makes 7, I guess. But it feels less satisfying than that for me, and I'm thinking you'll know by now whether you might give this a tentative whirl.
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