Visiting Japan is a dream of mine, I even took a course in learning the language. But I got confused, I dropped out and with my frequent haze of what I’m going to do in the future, I’d probably feel very lost there. Much like the characters in Lost In Translation. It’s hard to put yourself together when you’re surrounding by flashing dinosaur adverts.
Bob Harris (Bill Murray) has arrived in Japan to do an advert for a whisky. He’s holed up alone in a super flashy hotel and he can’t really deal with the customs and intensity Japanese culture brings. That and he’s enjoying his mid-life crisis. Also in the hotel is the young lady, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who appears confused with her current marriage and also what she aims to do with her life. She also likes to wander around her flat without any trousers on. The two lost people in Japan soon cross paths and experience the joys of the country and their company. It’s better to be lost together.
Lost In Translation can often feel pretentious and plodding in direction, but it does a good job of showcasing how weird yet wonderfully beautiful the city of Japan can be. Dated customs mix with modern neon lit streets which mix with goofy insane sugar powered Japanese TV. These contrast nicely with the bitter Bob who does everything with a frown on his face and his expressions and little comments bring much humour to the situations. There is also a sense of great isolation, one fine example being when Bob goes for a swim while those crazy Japanese are doing some water aerobics. The distortion of the music as he goes under and sees a bunch of legs hopping back and forth through the water then comes up for a few seconds to bring the music back into focus is one moment which shows his struggle against his surrounding area and himself. It’s all about the little things and his relationship with Charlotte helps bring to light their troubles while offering a respite from their bitter loneliness. They help each other out and by the end you’ll want them to get together. Even if she’s young enough to be his daughter.
Lost In Translation makes Japan feel like a confusing,garish and slightly annoying place to be. It’s like a dream state away from our own realities, and I’d love to get lost there. A respite from being lost here.