Lost In Translation, Blu-ray (2003/2010)
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Sofia Coppola
Studio: Focus/Universal 62113352 [12/7/10]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Deleted scenes, On the Set of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, Conversation with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, “Lost” On Location, Matthew’s Best Hit Japanese TV, Kevin Shield’s “City Girl” music video, BD Live!, Pocket BLU, more…
Length: 1 hr. 42 min.
Definitely not the Bill Murray you think you know from his other movies, even the superb Groundhog Day. And if you demand a lot of action, this is not your film, since almost nothing really happens. But it’s a wonderful mood piece on the subject of loneliness – two lost souls, completely different from one another, but stuck alone for different reasons in a lavish hotel or in the midst of crazy neon-fused downtown Tokyo.
Bob Harris is an aging American actor who seems to have more fans in Japan than in the U.S. He is there for a couple million (U.S.) paycheck for appearing in some commercials selling Suntory whiskey. Charlotte is a 25-year-old (played by 18-year-old Johansson) married to a photographer who is there to shoot some music groups, but who completely abandons his wife at the hotel and runs off on various shoots. Harris is also married and with children, but also took the job to escape from his wife for awhile.
But this isn’t a smart portrayal of an affair between a young woman and a guy who could be her father. It’s a touching and bittersweet exploration of the deep connection and friendship between these two inappropriate people – each one in what the New Yorker referred to as “emotional limbo.” And they are in the actual limbo of modern Tokyo, surround by a language and culture totally foreign to them. They discover they are in fact chaste soulmates.
Bill Murray says in the extras that this is his film he is most proud of, and one can see why. His quiet demeanor and expressive eyes say it all, and make the viewer just as nonplussed as Murray seems to be in many of the situations in which he is placed. He tells of learning to pronounce just one sentence of Japanese which comes in handy when someone assails him for shooting a scene someplace disruptive. The phrase in English is “Who do you think you are talking to?” And it works.
The Blu-ray transfer looks great and though the lossless DTS surround doesn’t make much use of the surround field, the dialog and music come thru clearly. The Japanese-pop-influenced music is most appropriate. One theme sounded like it was going to turn into "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence." The Murray/Coppola conversation and location extras are well worth seeing, but you may get enough of the crazy Matthew’s TV show in the film to skip the whole thing in the extras. The night shots of Tokyo are amazing eye-candy. The film was nominated for four different Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
— John Sunier