April 22, 2004
“Lost in Translation represents a significant departure from the predictable depiction of romance. The presence of actors who actively transform their screen personas adds a further layer of irony. These films display little concern with reinforcing screen personas, in fact, they actively work against typage.” –Wendy Haslem in Senses of Cinema, via Greencine
This couldn’t be more wrong. While I *love* Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, he is playing exactly his type. The movie was MADE around his type. Sofia Coppola pretty much even says that herself. In fact, that’s the only criticism I’ve heard of Bill Murray’s performance–that it’s the same role he played in Rushmore and many many other films. That the film rides on Bill Murray’s tired back. That the film’s success really has nothing to do with Coppola and everything to do with Murray’s schtick, which is the same schtick it’s always been, only here it’s in a different context and being appreciated by a new audience for new reasons. But it’s still the same old schtick. You want old and tired and funny and ironic and arrogant and smart and successful and jaded and self-mocking and vulnerable? See Bill Murray (or David Letterman).