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quietearth [Celluloid 01.28.08] movie review scifi drama

Year: 2007
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer: Francis Ford Coppola & Mircea Eliade
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 5 out of 10

As I sit here eating my double quarter pounder without cheese, I ponder what I want to write about this film, and the answer is really nothing. I'd just like to tell you don't bother, the storyline is in cryptic shambles, and the cinematography wasn't that great. The End. But as this is Coppola and it's his first directorial effort in 10 years, I'm sure you'll want to hear more.

The story is about Dominic, an aging professor (played by Tim Roth) who, after being struck by lightning, finds his age begins reversing during his rehabilitation in the hopsital. Through this he also gains some miraculous powers, like the ability to absorb the contents of a book only by holding it. This science fiction aspect barely gets a brief mention so it only has the briefest hint of an outer limits episode. As this happens during the Nazi's rise to power, they catch wind of Dominic and want to study him. For all the play this WWII aspect gets in the trailer, it was a relatively short part of the story.

While this doesn't sound so bad, it gets worse. The movie opens with a brief scattered dream sequence, quickly moves to the lightning, and then to the hospital. The start was great, or at least my expectations made it so. At some point about 10 to 15 minutes in the storyline diverged into an abyss from which it never returned. It was so confusing I really wish I had a remote so I could hit back and try to figure out what the heck was going on. Dominic gets help from the head Doctor and a place to hide, but they show him off to the entire scientific community which, with the nazis, forces him to go on the run.

At some point later in a story as stable as an etch-a-sketch, Dominic meets with Veronica (played by Alexandra Maria Lara) and saves her life. She is in shock and stuck in a hospital, and apparently has the past life of a buddhist woman from India stuck within her. This is where it started getting really bizarre. Since Dominic is into linguistics, he's the only one who can speak Sanskrit, which is the only language the ancient soul knows. They get together, and the whole past life thing literally devolves.

Let's add in the vague research Dominic is conducting, something to do with consciousness, and linguistics. At least I think that's what it was. I think Coppola was going for some profound metaphysical experience like the true search for the name of God, ala the Kaballah in Pi. This, coupled with Veronica, and his "multiple personalities", and subtly corroding sense of reality equals ... huh?

As I said, the cinematography, while not bad, was nothing impressive. The acting wasn't an issue, Tim Roth and Alexandra Maria Lara were great. (Hint: many of the actors appeared in multiple roles in the film) The settings, sartorial style, and period pieces were all top notch. Again, it was the storyline that killed the whole thing. It was too many ideas, which on a smaller scale, if played out, would have been great. You'll probably still see it anyways, and to be honest I'm going to watch it again to try and discern more detail. This gets a 5 out of 10, wait for a DVD release if you must see it, it's not worth a trip to the theater.

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agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Good review. I gotta say I had my doubts. As much as I love The Godfather films, and Apocalypse Now, this film had "artsy stink-fest" written all over it. Your burger sounded more interesting. Its description left me with nagging questions like why no cheese? Is there something he's not telling us?


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

Yes, while I am a fan of cheese. the so called "American" version is no more then oil and water, and it tastes like crap. Hence, no cheese!


agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Ah yes, processed cheese. America's great contribution to the oncoming zombie apacalypse. I heard that's the new plotline of Day of the Dead... or was it just that the film was cheesey?

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