This Must Be The Place
This Must Be The Place
(Paolo Sorrentino, 2011)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Sean Penn's brave, offbeat performance is the emotional heart of Paolo Sorrentino's midlife crisis dramedy.
"Fear of flying isn't your only problem" the wife (Frances McDormand) of bored, rock star Cheyenne (Sean Penn) advises. He replies, in a deadpan slow childlike drawl: "That's true, I also have a mild fear of dying" He says it as a joke, but he's long since lost the confidence of delivery.
We get the feeling that Robert Smith-esque former frontman Cheyenne is an intelligent man who dumbed himself down by doing very little after his glory days have faded. He's a recluse not only to his fans, but also himself.
Now that his father is dying, Cheyenne decides that now is as good a time as any for a revival and goes on a road trip from Ireland to America to (here's the big stretch) hunt down a surviving Nazi responsible for his family's pain.
This is a mid-life crisis film, but an admirable one that backs up its quirky humour with an intelligent script. Advising a young girl at a cafe how people just accept their life for better or worse as age sets in, Cheyenne muses: "We go from an age of saying 'that's where my life will be' to 'that's life'".
Cheyenne may be wise, but he's fragile. His wife is correct when she tells him "maybe you're confusing depression and boredom", and as the film progresses we care that a cruel world may take advantage of his humility.
Penn's performance is a brave risk, coming off more like his work in 'I Am Sam' than his work as a troubled jazz guitarist in 'Sweet and Lowdown'.
'The Consequences of Love' writer/director Paolo Sorrentino's 'This Must Be The Place' is a lament, and a fine one. It's a renewal. Fresh strings on an old guitar. Perhaps you will like the melody.
Check out the theatrical trailer for 'This Must Be The Place' HERE at Cinemas Online.
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