The third film released on Apple TV +, after The Banker and Greyhound (I have seen it, and I have yet to publish the review), this new fiction reunites a great director with a cast of leading figures.
Director Sofia Coppola, actor Bill Murray and actress Rashida Jones come together to tell a story, almost a pretext, to be able to shoot together.
I must confess that I have not been a great follower of Sofía Coppola, after The Virgin Suicides and Lost in translation, her name disappeared from my mental landscape, although obviously I remember the promotion of Marie Antoinette (I may have even seen her -or at least scraps – on TV) but I never knew it was his movie.
Possibly moviegoers will take their heads if I establish similarities – even kinships – with Lost in translation: both portray cities and – in these times – the vitality that welcomes them. Especially in times of pandemic, a convertible race is welcome. Both also show misfits, unable to understand the world around them and the rules that govern it, although perhaps that means pulling the string too tight to find similarities. As Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece, it is natural to refer everything to her.
Since 1998, the year in which she shot her first short, she has made 8 films (in 22 years!), All written, produced and directed by her (except Suicidal Virgins, which was not produced by her). As a curiosity, Sofia Coppola was married to Spike Jonze, who is also producing documentaries for Apple TV + (Beastie Boys Story)
With Bill Murray I have a more “close” relationship, in the sense that I have seen his films more continuously, even in those secondary roles of films almost of Series B that he accepts to continue working. You could say that over the years Bill Murray has become his own character, or at least has that tendency to accept characters that are somewhat surreal, grumpy and / or out of the system. His legend, or his mythology seems to be building on top of him, or in spite of him.
Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray first collaborated on Lost in Translation (2003), later on A Very Murray Christmas (2015) for Netflix, and now on On the rocks (2020) for Apple TV +.
Rashida Jones did not know her, and apart from saying that she is the daughter of Quincy Jones and that she is doing well in her role (as Bill Murray’s traveling companion, who eats the screen) little more I can add. He has moved into supporting roles and short roles, so I guess this is his “coming-out.”
Without gutting the movie, it can be summed up as follows: Wife and mother (Rashida Jones) bored by routine and absorbed by work-home / home-work duality, desperately needs some pepper in her life, and her father ( Bill Murray) is eager to contribute. Together they will embark on adventures that are mere pretexts for conducting dialogues.
If I have not managed to get the kinetics to burn my photo, here is another attempt: I find some concomitances with certain stages of Woody Allen, (saving the distance) where the whole scene is a pretext to show the intimate and public relations of the characters.
It is a film that could be seen in the cinema (if we were not mired in this abnormality that they want to sell us as “the new reality”) and you would leave comforted and wanting to have a drink and complete a wonderful evening.
Although I am not sure if it is a positive value (at least for everyone) I will quote the equidistance. It could perfectly have turned into a crazy comedy, or a tearful drama about marriage and routine, or a road-city-movie, or a psychological “WoodyAllenism” about the dehumanization of modern society, and so on. Instead, each time the plot pulls in one direction or another, the director picks up the reins and redirects everything so as not to fall into an easy classification.
Despite the director and artists involved, the film is viewed with a certain disinterest. It’s not bad enough to remove but it’s not good enough to hold interest either.
That equidistance that we mentioned earlier sometimes works against them, because it leaves the viewer wanting to know what would have happened if they had squeezed the situation to the fullest. Instead, the action continues, moving on to the next act.
It is not a movie that you finish it and you want to see it again, but surely in two, three, five years, you can see it with pleasure.
It’s a nice addition to the Apple TV + “wardrobe”, which is increasingly shining on its mural of big names.