This Must Be The Place [Review 43 for FQ13]

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And the nominee for Weirdest Movie I’ve Seen And Enjoyed Thus Far During Film Quest 2013…

Why I Saw It: A friend of mine who I’ve known longer than almost any of the friends I still keep in touch with… I believe I’ve mentioned him before… mentioned this movie. I looked up the plot basics, and there was no way I could avoid seeing it, especially given the way Sean Penn’s character looks in the film.

What Was It About?  “Cheyenne, a retired rock star living off his royalties in Dublin, returns to New York City and continues the hunt to find the runaway Nazi his recently deceased father sought after their encounter during WWII.

Important to note: It wouldn’t matter to me whether Sean Penn was portraying a trans-gendered / transvestite character in this film, but it does to some people. To each their own, but it’s probably important to note, for those people, that he’s not. He just has a crazy hairstyle and wears a bit of makeup, but what musician from the 80’s didn’t?

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 – decent-bordering-on-enjoyable, but it has it’s flaws.

Memorable Performances: I will always remember Sean Penn for his role in I AM SAM, but this role will undoubtedly always be there for me, as well. If Frances McDormand had a larger role, I might consider her performance memorable as well, but chances are good that I’ll forget she was involved or it’ll be an after-thought.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Supporting Actress – Frances McDormand
  • Best Actor – Sean Penn

Favorite Parts: There are a scenes I really enjoyed about the film:

  • The Band Member Meet-Up – One of the more powerful scenes in the film, it was the part of the film that really helped to allow the viewers to attach to Sean Penn’s character and give you an idea for why he wasn’t a more “mainstream” member of society. It also explained an earlier scene, making it all the more powerful.
  • The Final Showdown – I won’t say WHO or WHAT he finds at the end of his journey, but when he gets to the final destination on his manhunt, what he chooses to do, it’s very satisfying.
  • Empty Pool Handball – I loved the interactions between the characters portrayed by Sean Penn and Frances McDormand, and the game of handball they play in the empty pool certainly helps to more humanize Penn’s character.thismustbetheplace-penn-mcdormand-tsr
  • Guitar Lessons – The scene where Sean Penn sits on the couch and plays music with the kid was a really strong moment in the film, and the few minutes which follow actually help give it a better tone.

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The Regrettable Aspects: The character Sean Penn portrayed was just a bit TOO weird, and the fact that he was also so very crafty in being able to conduct the manhunt… it just didn’t seem to fit together. It felt like he wasn’t weird because of his decades-worth of abnormal experiences on the road as a celebrity musician, but that it was almost a choice he was making. The parting shot of him in the film, giving you an idea for what life has in store for him next, just didn’t work too well for me in terms of an ending. And there were several aspects of the manhunt that just seemed implausible to me.

Would I watch it again? I might, if it happens to be on a channel somewhere and I notice it’s on. I won’t be renting it again, and I doubt I’ll seek it out through an Instant viewing either.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  Anyone who likes to see actors take on challenging roles, or non-traditional films. Some people I know would think the film is too weird, and they wouldn’t give it the chance it deserves. While it’s not a great film, it’s certainly worth seeing.

Other Recommendations:

- I AM SAM – You can’t fully appreciate Sean Penn’s acting ability if you haven’t seen this film.

WE’RE NO ANGELS – Talk all you want about Penn’s role in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, but the first time I really appreciated his work was with Robert De Niro in Neil Jordan’s film about convicts posing as priests to avoid going to jail. Such a great flick, and yet, I don’t hear it mentioned nearly enough.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up… BAD BOYS!

2 responses to “This Must Be The Place [Review 43 for FQ13]

  1. Penn and McDormand were good, but everything else just felt off to me. Maybe it was because the movie was too random or something, but whatever it was: something just didn’t feel totally right. Nice review man.

  2. It was good to see Penn doing something completely different even thought the film isn’t anything special. Good review!

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