Sometimes it takes an outsider to objectively focus on another country’s traits. Directed by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino ‘This Must Be the Place’ is a good example. In exploring someone’s pursuit of justice while providing him with purpose effectively uncovers the varying extremes of American culture. With the US influence increasing, it’s easy seeing what attracted him to a project unafraid in showing the many shades it offers.
Bored with life after enjoying a successful musical career, Cheyenne’s (Sean Penn) personal stupor becomes shaken when his father suddenly passes away. A former P.O.W. during World War 2, his father endured harsh treatment at the hands of a cruel Nazi SS officer. Learning the officer is still alive and living in America, Dublin based Cheyenne determines to track him down. Beginning a cross country trip to bring his father’s tormentor to justice, his mission becomes fraught with emotional dilemmas.
A fascinating road movie ‘This Must Be the Place’ is a beguiling mix of comedy and drama. As Cheyenne slowly travels around America’s quirky by-ways, he tries to make peace with past regrets. Externally this is seen by his gothic attire which more than resembles those of a certain 1980’s musician. This darkness reflects his internal demons which he feels can be cured by correcting some past injustices.
Whilst it loses its way with a rambling narrative and has more than a whiff of self-indulgence, it always maintains engagement. Penn’s performance makes his emotionally stunted character seem real. This authenticity extends to the look and actions surrounding his character with proceedings having genuine motivation. The comedy arises from the drama with its unforced nature welcome.
Entertaining despite some sluggish moments, ‘This Must Be the Place’ adds another cinematic interpretation of American life. Again proving a foreign eye can unearth a new slant on local foibles.
Movie Review Rating 7 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.