5.0, Japan, United States/Canada

Lost in Translation

2003 / Sofia Coppola > Coppola’s sophomore effort has quite a few tangibles working for it: Impactful yet understated acting, a functional/moody location and a near-perfect mixture of ambience and rock for the soundtrack. But these only tell half of the story. The feel of it all—being alone in a city where your mind and body seems misplaced, not knowing if what tomorrow brings is worth waking up or going to bed for, wondering if the past you’ve lived is the past you’ve wanted to live—these are the intangibles that are undeniably infused into the self-analyzing experience that is Lost in Translation.

But I’d be lying if I said this was a perfect film: I find Scarlett Johansson’s character to be weak, though part of it’s because Bill Murray puts forth a subtle yet powerful performance portraying a man of such humanity that she comes off comparatively cookie-cutter. The pacing isn’t always perfect, with hiccups that seem misplaced and solo scenes of Johansson that pale in comparison to those of Murray. And while I never really found the film to be racist by any means, the xenophobic viewpoints sometimes come off silly rather than calculated. But the point remains that Coppola, with the help of Brian Reitzell and Roger J. Manning Jr.’s effusive score, has concocted a mood piece of master quality that takes away our sense of vengeful cynicism and fills it with the kind of hope and bewilderment that both the young and the young at heart seek.