Title: This Must Be The Place
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Kerry Condon and Judd Hirsch
Review by: Allan
“How many times can you listen to the same song before you start to get sick of it?“
Cheyenne (Penn) is not a normal man. Following a successful pop career decades ago he has long since retired and lives with Jane (McDormand) his loving wife in Dublin. Still retaining his 80′s look the musician is surrounded by his number one fan, a handful of acquaintances and the nagging guilt of inadvertently causing pain to others through his music. The quiet childlike man has become bored of his reclusive life but before he can do anything about it he is informed of his estranged fathers diminishing health in New York.
He sets off on a journey to made amends before it is too late, sadly due to his fear of flying, he is too late. However when he discovers his father had spent most of his life searching for a Nazi war criminal Cheyenne opts to finish the job. The singer on a mission obtains a truck, a gun and heads out on a cross-country road trip involving self discover, inner peace, pretty landscapes all while hunting an infamous German.
European directors have always had an interesting take on the American landscape, for his first English language movie Paolo Sorrentino is no different. The camera is practically another character admiring the oddness and beauty of the USA. Whether it is picture postcards of iconic vistas or the weirdness of small town inhabitants the frame is filled with treats for the eyes backed by David Byrnes musical compositions for an auditory treat.
Love him or barely tolerate him Sean Penn is the heart, body and soul of this film. In the hands of practically any other actor the Robert Smith meets Ozzy Osbourne via Edward Scissorhands would be a one note joke. Yet the former Spicoli crafts an unusually hilarious and emotional performance within the big hair and make-up.
Much like the lead character the film is odd, meandering, frustrating, occasionally confused and genuinely laugh out loud chucklesome. Cheyenne makes so many diversions in his road trip its almost as if he had forgotten why he left the creature comforts of Dublin in the first place. Especially when you consider he has left his supportive wife in the form of the instantly wonderful Frances McDormand and we see far too little of their curious yet sweet relationship. The supporting cast, always playing second fiddle to Penn are great and brief appearances from David Byrne (as himself) and Harry Dean Stanton add to likable weirdness of the movie.
Those seeking a film with proper closure to each and every plot point might want to look elsewhere, much like life there are no easy resolutions wrapped up within a pleasant three act structure. Although even fans of Talking Heads may find their tolerance for the titular track played numerous times in various musical styles being pushed to the limits.
I could happily spend the rest of 2012 never hearing This Must Be The Place, which is a shame because it is a great song.
In conclusion, the film with the same name may not be as great, it is however an interesting look at America through an outsiders eyes.