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directed by Sofia Coppola
USA 2003


The first I had heard of this film a co-worker had just seen it in the theater and came into the office the next day extolling the virtues of both the movie and director, Sofia Coppola. I bit my tongue when he repeatedly claimed she would eventually "out-do" her father, the prominent Francis Ford Coppola. Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh, I suppose anything is possible.


Lost in Translation starts out with a shot of a female lying on a bed. The camera is centered on her hips from behind (her ass)... in pink panties. I found this to be about the full extent of the depth of this film. I could have been expecting too much, not from the director - I had assumed any style she may have exhibited behind the camera would either be an imitation or non-existent. It proved to be the latter. Dominant performances and a tight script can often carry a film. Aside from a flash of charismatic brilliance from Scarlett Johansson (playing Charlotte) I didn't see much else. I was not particularly enamored with Bill Murray's performance... he seemed as he does in most films... himself, but intentionally less funny. His character had no passion, but seemed quite disaffected by everything - perhaps this was intentional. He had gone through the trappings of his own fame and come out jaded by the experiences. Any love expressed to his family back home seemed feigned. 


I think if I was Japanese, I might be offended by the film. As opposed to embracing another culture the Americans in the film choose to expand upon and exploit the differences. The "L" to "R" sounding, the one filming staff unaware of western culture except for Sinatra and the Rat Pack, The "Johnny Carson" of Japan - were all humorous - but at whose expense? It's as bad as the "No ticky, no laundry " gag for people of Chinese persuasion.  Murray's character (Bob Harris) - a family man with no moral backbone - casually sleeps with one girl while on a work holiday, and continues to court another - all the while conversing with his children and wife of 25 years back in the States through phone and fax. My emotional responses towards him were indiscernible, even by myself. Total indifference. I couldn't care less about this chap. In typical Hollywood style the protagonist was not an "every man" but a celebrity of some stature - constantly being recognized in public. My, my... aren't celebrities all the rage though. Yes, they are so wonderful. We just love to forgive/forget their frequent indiscretions.


I agree with my friend Nick Wrigley who also found the constant music in the soundtrack simply a distraction from the poor dialogue and script (character development). Yes, the GOD SAVE THE QUEEN karaoke song was unnecessary. The entire film, although with an interesting premise, was dead, dull, and flat. I honestly think I watch better films every week. out of


Theatrical Release: 29 August 2003 (Telluride Film Festival)  - USA

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DVD Review: Universal -  Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal  Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:41:36 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS), DUB French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English (hearing impaired), Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• A conversation with director Sofia Coppola and actor Bill Murray
• "Lost on Location" - behind-the-scenes featurette including exclusive footage shot by the filmmakers
• Deleted scenes
• "Matthew's Best Hit TV" - an extended version of the Japanese TV show
• Music video
• Trailer

DVD Release Date:
February 3, 2004
Keep Case
Chapters: 24



This anamorphic DVD image is quite dark and has some failings in the sharpness department. I couldn't distinguish any edge enhancement, but objects out of focus of the lens seemed abnormally hazy. We are given a two choices for the audio (and a French DUB) - I would stick with the DTS track. the Extras are well done, if uninteresting. Good colors - some money was spent on the DVD    

Gary W. Tooze

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Distribution Universal  Region 1 - NTSC


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