Posted by: lindsayhumbert | March 17, 2009

Lost in Translation

Even the movie poster is somewhat humorous.

Even the movie poster is somewhat humorous.

For a movie whose main characters were so somber and downcast for a majority of the film, there were a surprising amount of small humorous scenes peppered throughout, such as:
+ Bill Murray’s character Bob Harris towering over everyone else in the Tokyo elevator
+ Harris trying to shower with a shower head that was too short
+ how at the photo shoot, the long winded Japanese was translated into a short, concise English explanation and a question in English became expanded to a lengthy Japanese translation
+ when a Japanese hooker came to visit Harris in his hotel room
+ a shot of Harris dining by himself at one end of a table for two
+ huge digital dinosaurs and elephants marching across a sky scraper as if it were a jumbotron
+ Harris having clips on the back of his suit jacket during and after this photo shoot
+ Harris losing control of the Japanese elliptical machine, screaming for help, followed by a shot of him limping the subsequent morning
+ a person dancing while playing a video game at an arcade
+ Harris receiving a package of carpet samples from his wife
+ the orange camouflage shirt Harris wants to wear out
+ the scene where Harris is in the waiting room at the hospital, sitting next to an older man with a cane wearing a punk hat and shoes, with Harris ultimately ending up with some sort of pillow
+ the scene where Harris attempts to shave with a dinky razor and is then interrupted by a phone call
+ the matching striped suit worn by the talk show host
These amusing moments contrast from the overall serious tone created by the film’s characters. However, their presence lightens the mood and prevents the movie from becoming too heavy and depressing by allowing the viewer to release small amounts of tension.

Furthermore, the film utilized repetition to crate familiarity. By my count, three times the opening shot of the bar was a singing red head. When, later in the film, the bar is introduced by showing a different band providing the musical entertainment, the viewer notices the difference in the way the scene was set. The rule of three appears again with showing Scarlett Johansson’s character, Charlotte, sitting by the window looking out at the city. This effectively paints her as someone who feels trapped and wants part of the ‘more’ that is out there.


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