Two identical twins pole dance in matching school girl outfits and patent red platforms to entertain Hollywood superstar Johnny Marco as he reclines in bed at the Chateau Marmont hotel, and then falls asleep. Enter the dry-humoured, genius mind of ‘Somewhere’ director Sofia Coppola.
Few filmmakers allow their audiences to see a scene through to the end. But Coppola’s Gold Lion winning film Somewhere indulges in real time scenes, resulting in a startlingly accurate yet subtle character study of the protagonist Johnny Marco, played by 90s heart throb Stephen Dorff. Possessor of the most effective mojo since Austin Powers, Johnny lives a hedonistic existence, speeding down the highway in his Ferrari with beautiful women falling over themselves to seduce him at debaucherous parties. Suffice to say, the emergence of Johnny’s 11-year-old doe eyed daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning, is ill-fitting. Cleo’s mother drops her off unannounced, leaving Johnny to take care of her until further notice. Giving her father a much needed sense of purpose, the pair jet off around the world attending premieres and press junkets to promote Johnny’s films.
The father-daughter relationship is as natural and unassuming as can be, in no small part due to Dorff’s and Fanning’s effortless acting. When Cleo leaves to go to camp, Johnny struggles to fill the void, conveyed by a truly excellent scene where he lies isolated on a lilo in the hotel pool, with poignant reference (we think) to the scene in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby when Gatsby lies in his pool on a lilo and realises finally, that he may have wealth in excess, but he is alone. Witty, insightful and original, Somewhere is climbing its way to the cult status of Coppola’s most affiliated works, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation.
Somewhere is in cinemas now.