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Review of Lost in Translation

Posted by phduffy on 2004-02-16 23:15:29
5 forum posts
The Academy awards will soon be upon us. Some people consider this to be an important event. I no longer consider these awards to be anymore or less relevant that any other listing of top movies. I can to this reasoning two years ago when A Beautiful Mind won, and in my opinion, it wasn't as good as either Ghost World or Memento, neither of which was nominated.

Why do I say all this? Well Lost in Translation is nominated for best picture this year. Looking at the competition I sort of figured that it wouldn't win, but it's a nice smaller movie, could be great. And one of the stars of Ghost World is even in it. (Scarlett Johansson).

So, with all that said, it is with a heavy heart that I offer this review. I'm not sure if Lost in Translation suffered from the too much hype syndrome (see Shakespeare in Love), if it really isn't that great, or if I'm just too stupid to understand it. It's quite possible that it's a combination of any of those three.

The good thing is that I don't have to worry about spoiling the plot, as there is none. Bill Murray is in Tokyo filming a commercial. Scarlet Johansson is there with her husband. They hang out in a hotel and become friends. That's the plot of the movie.

The movie also depicts various Japanese stereotypes for our amusement. I'm not quite sure why, but everyone of these fell flat for me. If I want to laugh at the Japanese, I'll watch Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

From what I understand, this movie is attempting to be Ironic. To be honest, I thought I understood and appreciated irony. However I found almost any attempt at humour/irony in this movie completely unfunny.

With that said, perhaps the movie was not trying to be funny, but rather to tell a story. It also fails at that. They are bored in Tokyo. I understand that. In fact, I am quickly becoming bored of being shown how bored they are as they sit in silence and drink.

I don't want to sound like this film had no redeeming qualities. Perhaps I've been a bit harsh. The film is well shot, and well acted. With that said, I would only give it a 6/10.
Here's a list of films I saw that were released in 2003 that I thought were better than Lost in Translation:

The Good Thief
Phone Booth
A Mighty Wind
X-Men 2
Matrix Reloaded
L'Auberge Espagnole
The Italian Job
Pirates of the Caribbean
Owning Mahowny
Kill Bill
The Last Samurai
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Big Fish
Seabiscuit

And yes, I did just put X-Men 2, Phone Booth, Pirates, and the 2nd Matrix above Lost in Translation. Some would argue that those are a different type of movie that is trying to do something different. That's fine. I would argue that they're just better movies.

And the main reason that that list is so small is that I didn't do a very good job of seeing some of the great movies of the year (Mystic River, the Station Agent, 21 Grams, etc).

So there's my review. I know that there are people that frequent this site that feel differently. I am curious as to your opinion. Perhaps you can enlighten me on what I'm missing. (And yes I'm serious about this; I'm not trying to get in an argument with you).

Oh yeah, another thing that I didn't like. At the end of the movie Bill Murray says something to Scarlett. However, we're never told what it is he says. I didn't like this type of thing when it was done in Pulp Fiction, and I don't like it now. I'm told that you can find what he said on the Internet. I don't care, I shouldn't have to go to the Internet to understand a movie.*

*I'm not saying that a movie has to be completely clear the first time through. There are some movies that become clearer on a second viewing or by reading on the internet. That's different, as it doesn't matter how many times you watch this, you won't figure out what was said.

FOR THE CHILDREN:
It's Japan, so there's lots of schoolgirls running and showing their underwear.
  5 forum posts