Saturday, September 12, 2009

'Youth Without Youth' Review

Last night I watched this movie. I spent 2+ hours watching it. I don't know what I watched. I know Tim Roth was in it and Francis Ford Coppola wrote, produced and directed it. I also know that I am not really a fan of Coppola and this movie didn't really sway me toward becoming a fan. I didn't hate it, but I certainly did not like it either.

Before I get to the how and why and describe just what the movie is about (I think), let me show the two trailers that were released.

They show two completely different movies. The first trailer makes it seem like the movie is about a man who gets struck by lightning, lives and something happens to him making him become a person everyone wants a piece of. Then Matt Damon offers him protection and new identities. It looks interesting, and seems like an international sci-fi, espionage, thriller.

The second trailer kind of makes less sense. It's also more like the actual movie. What I mean by that is: It doesn't make any sense. It covers basically the first trailers content then adds stuff about this woman who keeps going further and further back in time. I'll explain that later. Either way, it makes little to no sense.

Here's what the movie is about: Dominic Matei, a student who has a life-long dream to figure out the origins of language, is dumped by his love Laura. Laura tells him that he is, in essence, married to his work and he'd be better off without her. He later finds out that she got married and died a year later in childbirth. Now he is a 70 year old man and has spent, I assume, the last 50 years or so alone. He ends up in a Bucharest, a city where no one knows him and he is wandering the streets with a blue envelope filled with poison to kill himself. He is then struck by lightning and survives, though badly burned. At the hospital the doctors are astounded when he begins to heal and grow younger. He leaves the hospital after he is healed and writes about his experiences, gaining the attention of many people, including The Nazi's. Oh, after he was struck by lightning he seemed to have developed some kind of double personality that appears in mirrors and later in the flesh.

Later he flees to Switzerland and encounters a woman named Veronica, who looks exactly like Laura, and her friend heading up a mountain road. Later he goes to look for them afraid they have met harm and he finds the car and Veronica's friend dead and Veronica in a cave. She seems to be in shock and thinks she is a woman named Rupini. She says the last thing she remembers is meditating in a cave and then there was a cave-in. This is really where the movie starts to get really WTF. Veronica starts getting "possessed" by Rupini and heading farther and farther back in time, linguistically. She also starts to age and finally Dominic tells her that he needs to leave her in order to save her. He says that if in 6 months she hasn't returned back to her youth he'll come back. A few years go by and he sees her leaving a train, youthful and with a child. She passes him without noticing him and he returns to his home town. In the hotel where he is staying he begins to have an argument with his other self and he ends up smashing a mirror causing the other self to scream, "What have you done?" and then turning to another, foreign language.

After this altercation he goes to the cafe he used to frequent as a younger man and there he meets some old men who he knew in the past. As he talks about things he's seen and done they start to ask what he is talking about and at some point he is old again. He then grasps his mouth, stumbles out the door, spits up blood and stumbles away. In the morning a man finds him, greatly aged, frozen to death at the bottom of the stairs. In his pocket is a passport with the name of a different man, an alias from the "past/future". Did all this happen? Was it a dream? Does it matter because this movie really makes no sense when you watch it?

I think there is something in this movie, but the execution really failed. It goes from being a movie about a man who gains his youth back in an accident and comes under the attention of a bunch of people to a movie about a woman who gets possessed by something and starts babbling in ancient languages. I don't know what the point is supposed to be. Is it supposed to be a giant paradox? Because for that to happen there should be, you know, a paradox and something that clearly shows that there is a paradox. Otherwise, it's just a movie that makes no damn sense. I read somewhere that people compare it to David Lynch movies and 'Mulholland Drive' in particular. I don't see this. I love David Lynch and I am totally clueless about his movies, but I don't care.

What I loved was that this movie had Tim Roth and some killer cinematography. Some of the shots used were beautiful and the production design was great too. Really everything was fine except for the story because I don't know what I was supposed to be gaining from it.

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