Have you ever seen Lawrence of Arabia? It’s 216 minutes. The first 3 minutes is a scene in which Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) sits on his motorcycle and enjoys a seemingly peaceful drive through the English countryside. He looks great – you know instantly that this is somebody of importance. He exudes cool to the point that his look represents the same thing after nearly 50 years. During his drive, you basically know that something bad is going to happen. Not a single word is uttered, just the rev of his engine. He runs over a few bumps – you think that’s the end for him, but it isn’t. He approaches two people on bicycles, the most normal, everyday occurrence, and he loses control.
Somewhere is basically these 3 minutes stretched into 97. This film is basically 97 minutes of waiting for a crash.
Essentially, Somewhere is about an actor (Stephen Dorff) who has a great life, but only on paper. He lives at Chateau Marmont, a hotel on the famed Sunset Strip that normally houses out-of-town celebrities who may be filming in LA the time or straight-up rich people who want to seem like celebrities. His life is routine – drink, smoke, watch twin pole-dancers perform bedside, sleep, repeat. One morning, he wakes up to his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning), who seems to be his one joy. They spend a lot of time together doing nothing…and then she leaves and he is depressed again.
I will give Dorff and Fanning a bit of credit – they play well off one another. I was convinced that they could be father and daughter. They actually have the same nose undercarriage (see photo).
I really wanted to like Somewhere. Sophia Coppola has actually never impressed me, though. Lost in Translation made my eyes hurt from all of the rolling they did, but at least it had a plot and interesting things happened. Somewhere was a meaningless circle of non-emotion, much like it’s first scene: a car driving around in a circle.
Nice try, Ms. Coppola. You might be playing a big trick on us all – or maybe you’re just too smart for modern motion picture audiences. Let me know when your brother makes another movie. CQ was brilliant.
Until then, enjoy the first 3 minutes of Lawrence of Arabia (watch from 4:30-7:35):