This Must Be the Place (2011)

This Must Be the Place
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Writer:  Umberto Contarello, Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, Eve Hewson, Kerry Condon, Harry Dean Stanton, David Byrne, Shea Whigham

Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a rock star in retirement living in Ireland who divides his time between  his wife Jane (Frances McDormand) and his fan Mary (Eve Hewson). But when he hears that his father is about to die, Cheyenne makes his way to the US – only to find out that he is too late. But he finds out that his father has been hunting a Nazi who has been tormenting him during WWII. And suddenly Cheyenne finds himself on the same hunt.

The movie is much like its protagonist: charming, funny and peculiar. But the whole Nazi-hunting story feels tacked on and runs too long. Still, it’s all worth it for Sean Penn in that role.

Sean Penn was completely fantastic. He rocked that role so freakishly hard, I don’t even have words. Frances McDormand was great, too. And I totally enjoyed the chemistry and relationship Cheyenne and Jane had – it felt very realistic and completely unique. I loved watching them.

That’s probably also why I just didn’t enjoy the movie as much as soon as it left Ireland and Jane behind. I just missed their relationship. Another part of it was that I wanted to find out more about Mary and her brother Tony and their connection to Cheyenne and that just never really got cleared up – instead they went Nazi hunting apropros à nothing.

Also, I thought that the ending sucked pretty hard. Not only the way the whole situation with the Nazi was “resolved”, but also that the Tony thing remained a mystery (unless I totally missed the hints). Also, as soon as Mary’s mother told Cheyenne that he never smoked a cigarette in his life because he never grew up (say what?, btw), I knew that by the end of the film, he’d have one. And lo and behold, what happened? Exactly.

But other than that I did like the film a lot. It was funny and had nice dialogues and wonderful, stunning cinematography. And it had a pretty good heart.

Summarising: generally mixed but ends up on the good side.

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