Amazon Prime film review: Somewhere
People doing nothing6
People doing nothing8
James R | On 20, Oct 2015
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning
Watch Somewhere online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Johnny (Dorff) is living the life of a Hollywood actor at full speed. But in between the booze, the parties and the endless sex, he’s running on empty. He spends his ageing existence driving in circles going nowhere. Literally. At least five times. Then Cleo (Fanning) enters his cluttered hotel room and things start to change gear.
Or at least, that’s what would normally happen in a conventional comedy drama. Instead, his 11 year old daughter smiles quietly and nods along with her father’s flat lifestyle, never dispensing a witty put-down or astute criticism. The result is something subtle and arguably true to life, but slightly lacking in energy.
Of course, that’s the whole point of Somewhere. Things stay sedated and stylised as daddy and daughter hit the press tour hard, ordering room service, going on odd Italian TV shows, and generally capturing the chaotic meaningless of most press conferences. All the while, the two avoid any major emotional exchange. No one does a lot of talking in Sofia Coppolla land. The director’s natural follow-up to Lost In Translation is a film that fills its onscreen silence with more silence, challenging its cast to delve beneath the screenplay’s sparse surface.
They do, for the most part – Dorff especially – and the couple share their detached loneliness with a warm-hearted air. Some confrontations do occur (Johnny keeps receiving abusive text messages from an unknown source) but Somewhere sticks to its shambling tone without much melodrama. Even the naff pole dancers are there to raise laughs.
Shot with a confident aesthetic eye, Coppola is still a queen of composition, the best being a slow zoom out from a sunlit swimming pool. A visual piece, which shows rather than tells, the soundtrack compliments the screen perfectly. The final product may be paced like a snail, which could deter many, but Somewhere’s rhythm is assured and engrossing. Yes, you spend 98 minutes watching a man doing nothing, but for every second that Sofia steals, she gives several memorable moments back.
Somewhere is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.