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This Must Be the Place


Stars: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, Kerry Condon, Harry Dean Stanton, Eve Hewson, Joyce Van Patten, David Byrne, Shea Whigham

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Now I don't mind 'very odd'; films like this can be my cup of tea. But 'very odd' over two hours can be a bit trying. And so, despite felicitous moments, it proves here.

Penn plays Cheyenne, a former rock star now in his early fifties, but still dressing in Goth style, complete with lipstick, eye makeup and bouffant (dyed) black hair. He has mannered, quiet, strangely singsong speech (although he swears a lot) and a wife (McDormand) who's a firefighter and with whom he plays pelota in a swimming pool that has never seen water.

Odd enough for you? Wait, there's more.

This part of the film is about the man himself but, when his father dies, it segues into another movie entirely, this one about Cheyenne's country-wide search for the German war criminal who humiliated his father in a prison camp.

He's joined by a legendary Nazi-hunter (Hirsch) and together the (very) odd couple pursue their prey across the deserts of America. On the way there's just time for a typically laconic cameo from legendary character actor Stanton.

This, however, is the lesser part of the film, and Penn's bizarre character loses some of our interest outside his own milieu. Colour photography by Luca Bigozzi, though, is notable for its clarity throughout.

David Quinlan

Italy/France/Ireland 2011. UK Distributor: Pathe. Technicolor.
118 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 01 Apr 2012