Lost In Translation

After all this heavy routine and highly taxing life, I found a light hearted break that I desperately craved in the film Lost in Translation. I had alot of heavy stuffs on my mind, so it was like a light detoxing therapy and I really enjoyed the movie, an experience I never had the luxury to have for some time now.

Set in the beautiful backdrop of Tokyo and the Park Hyatt Hotel, the film explores themes like culture shock and alienation experienced by two characters in the movie, Bob Harris and Charlotte. Bob Harris is an aging movie star, his prime long behind him and losing his identity on where he’s heading, while Charlotte is a confused young wife who’s followed her husband on a work assignment, being left in the hotel alone while she wonders about the present and the future.

I like the feel of the film, a kind of stylised loneliness as the characters wander around the city, sightseeing and savouring the breathtaking views, but at the same time unable to fit into and understand the society; language, religion and culture all being major obstacles. As a result, they are only able to achieve a bystander role, unable to fully communicate with the city, despite acknowledging it’s beauty. The recurring use of camera angles shooting outside of the windows further enhanced the overall mood, a perspective that the viewers can share, akin to an observer without interaction, separated by a medium in the form of a glass. In this case the actors seem to become the viewer, separated from the city by the windows, and the fourth wall is removed for us as the viewers, being thrown into the film and standing side by side the actors, experiencing their alienation from the culture of Japan. I like the closeness and the bond created with the characters.

The casting couldn’t have been more perfect, with the chemistry between the two proving it. Scarlett Johansson does such a natural job of portraying Charlotte, you sometimes see glimpse of her real self in the film, giggling to jokes, being curious, and handling the matureness of her counterpart Bill Murray, whom the same can almost be said as well, for the humour generated is certainly not read line by line from the script, a veteran who improvised to certain situations and created a playful and funny demeanor with the character he carry. Put them together and the relationship between Bob and Charlotte is electrical, a budding friendship that borderlines on platonic romance. There’s nothing sexual there, but it’s love as you know it, in the simplest of ways.

The ending also leave things open as the mystery of that scene adds on to the beauty of the film. Some viewers might find it annoying to not know what was said, but sidestepping and looking at it from a fresh angle one will feel that perhaps it is justified, because if the imagination accedes it, it could be a declaration of love, or a confrontation, or just random chatter and not knowing bring a heightened sense of intricacy to it, as the mind runs rampant and wild to search for an answer, creating infinite possibilities in the process. It creates this focal point of the film that we reflect back on, and the movie does not ease away to be forgotten in three days, and as I always emphasise, the aftertaste of a movie is important because it’s like a biometric identity. Most Hollywood action films generate almost no aftertaste because they are targeted at the general movie-goers. They have almost no identity and it’s like a carbon copy to cash in on the lucrative business, and the sequels, they are just horrible. I remembered walking out of Resident Evil: Extinction at the end of the film trying to remember the plot, which I went home and googled. It’s a shame cause I liked the first one. In a way Lost in Translation has it’s very unique biometric aftertaste because it is simple, and a light hearted contemporary. There’s nothing like sub laying messages nor does it asks alot of questions. It gives a sort of cool and refreshing experience.

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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