Richard Rushfield dismays at Sofia Coppola's oeuvre and her latest film, Somewhere, an agonizingly slow account of a bored actor's stay in the Chateau Marmont hotel in L.A.:
In three luxury hotel films, there is nary a shot of that oldest of tropes, the servant quarters, not even a wink at the Upstairs, Downstairs dichotomy of these worlds that so bore their protagonists. Instead, in Somewhere’s most cringe-inducing scene, the one moment in any of her films when a servant actually becomes a character, a Chateau Marmont waiter is permitted to sully the frame so that he may serenade Stephen Dorff and daughter Elle Fanning, in a moment highly suggestive of a plantation minstrel show for the massa and his family. ...
Once upon a time, the sight of a man walking across the screen of an independent film in a $500 silk shirt was immediate shorthand for the presence of evil. One might as well have cued the Darth Vader theme music when such a figure appeared, walking on, in all likelihood, to lay off the film’s hero from his dead end job, provoking his journey of self-discovery. Now the man in the $500 shirt is likely to be the film’s hero, and if anything we are meant to feel sympathy for the emptiness all that glitters brings.
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