06 June 2009

DVD: "Lost in Translation"

Lost in Translation
Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Fumihiro Hayashi
DVD Release Date: 3 February 2004
MPAA Rating: R (For Some Sexual Content)
List Price: $9.99
Cinescopes Personality Type: Rebellious Lover

The Film
Bob (Murray) is a middle-aged actor going through the motions of his life who finds himself in Tokyo for a promotional shoot. There, he meets Charlotte (Johansson), a young woman who recently graduated with a degree in philosophy in the city with her photographer husband (Ribisi). Over the course of a week shared together, Bob and Charlotte find common ground amid a hectic city in which neither really fits.

The production of the film is summarized in a half-hour long featurette, "Lost" on Location. It compiles footage of the actual shoots for the first three weeks and shows a very delightful and charming Murray off-set, but it simply...stops...during the third week. The rest of the shoot, and everything from post-production onwards is omitted entirely. Some supplementary comments about these things are made in A Conversation with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, a montage of the two prompting one another for comments interspersed with film clips. Otherwise, there are a few deleted scenes, the original theatrical trailer and the music video to "City Girl" by Kevin Shields (essentially a montage of footage of Johansson wandering Tokyo).

The Recommendation
Bob and Charlotte are accessibly identifiable characters, enhanced by Murray's charm and Johansson's vulnerability. The supplementary material is pretty standard fare and yet somehow the DVD release feels lacking. Perhaps this is because Coppola wrote the screenplay herself, and yet nowhere do any remarks from her concerning the actual story appear; certainly, this is a release for which a commentary track is deserved. My only problem with Lost in Translation is that a fairly major point in Bob's development as a character happens very abruptly and with little sense of consequence; I was hoping that Coppola herself would have shed some light on that seemingly random and isolated scene.

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