Wednesday, 28 November 2012

This Must Be The Place DVD Review

Written By Paolo Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello
Directed By Paolo Sorrentino


Sean Penn as Cheyenne
Frances McDormand as Jane
Judd Hirsch as Mordecai Midler
Eve Hewson as Mary
Harry Dean Stanton as Robert Plath
Kerry Condon as Rachel
David Byrne as Himself

Drama, Dark Comedy

Certificate 15


Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a former rock star who still dresses like a Goth. Now 50, he relives the days of superstardom with young fan and best friend Mary. Living off his royalties he rattles around his grand Dublin mansion until the death of his estranged father calls him to New York. Reunited with his family, Cheyenne discovers a secret that will send him across America. On a journey through the Midwest, full of surreal encounters with an eclectic mix of characters from New York socialites to ethical gun-shop owners, Cheyenne is on the road trip of his life. 

Special  Features
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast Interviews
  • Exclusive Viral Clips
  • Extended David Byrne Music Sequence


 ‘This Must Be The Place’ marks the English language debut of Paolo Sorrentino and what a debut it is.

Sean Penn plays Cheyenne.  A 50, or so, year old Goth rock star who lives a boring and depressive life in his Dublin mansion.  When he gets a phone call to say that his father, who he hasn’t seen for 30 years, is dying it sets him on a journey that will bring up his families past and change his life.

The story of Cheyenne is told brilliantly by Paolo Sorrentino and takes a decidedly non linear approach to the storytelling but that’s one of the movies biggest strengths.  There are a few scenes here and there thrown in that at first make no sense but then become part of the larger story being told and that is a great way of showing just how fractured Cheyenne’s mind is.  When the movie takes a massive turn from being about how miserable Cheyenne’s life has become to being about him finding the Nazi who stole his fathers dignity, it is so well written that instead of feeling out of place it flowed along without a single bump in the road.

Sean Penn is most definitely the glue that holds this movie together but the cast all do a truly amazing and beautiful job.  Penn, as Cheyenne, gives a subtle yet childlike performance as the aging rock star.  The character comes across as a mix of Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Smith and with the gentle performance by Penn, you can’t help but stay glued to the screen when ever he’s there.  Not under estimate the rest of the cast however.  It’s jam packed full of strange and kooky characters yet they too are done in such a subtle way that it doesn’t overload the movie.

One of the most haunting scenes for me was when Cheyenne visited the grave of two young fans of his and then later in the movie meets up with David Byrne, from the legendary band Talking Heads, and unleashes all the hurt that episode has caused him.   For a normally quiet character the sheer angst and pain that flies from Penn is overwhelming and quite frankly brilliantly done.

Frances McDormand does a fabulous job as Cheyenne’s long suffering but very understanding wife.  Her ‘full of life’ approach to the world really works well as a contrast to Penn’s performance.  Eve Hewson, who played Mary, a young fan of Cheyenne and companion is definitely one to watch in the future.  She gives a stunningly beautiful yet pained performance as a young lady missing her brother who upped and left without a word.

The soundtrack here is spot on but I shouldn’t really be surprised as it’s done by David Byrne, whose band The Talking Heads also make an appearance, and Will Oldham.  The pair of them manage to get the tones for the different scenes absolutely perfectly.  One moment the music is giving a scene the punch it needs and other times the music is soft and quiet in the background.  I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing them score another movie if they’re going to be as good as this soundtrack.

The special features consist of deleted scenes, some very interesting interviews, the viral slips and an extended David Byrne music sequence.  The only part of the special features that I was disappointed with was the exclusion of any interview or even comment by Sean Penn.  Considering he’s one of the main reasons this movie works so well, that just felt kind of a downer.  That said, the interviews that are here are very insightful, interesting and even made me want to watch the movie all over again.  My favorite of the lot was the interview with David Byrne where he talks about being involved in the movie and how he scored it as well as the story being his bands performance.

All in all, I would really recommend this movie.  From the beginning of the movie where you see Cheyenne wallowing in despair and boredom right up to where he begins to look for the Nazi war criminal who took away his fathers dignity is a kooky, slightly off kilter ride yet with a beautiful, kind beating heart right at the middle of it.  Plus with a knockout performance by Sean Penn and a brilliantly chosen cast that really bring this story to life, this is a truly fantastic film that deserves to be seen by more people.

Movie 4/5
Picture 4/5
Sound 4/5
Special Features 4/5
Overall 16/20

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