Youth Without Youth

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Posted December 20, 2007 in Film

Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature this decade could also be called Plot Without Plot. This shifty, swirly, rococo behemoth follows a near-death Romanian linguist named Dominic (Tim Roth) through a series of narrative dark alleys and dead ends. Dominic’s ambitions are greater than his talent; his life’s work is an effort to find the primordial origin of language, the point at which man started chattering with intent. It’s a failing quest that gets a second life when the old man gets struck by lightning and miraculously regenerates his youth, and along with it, some neat-o magical powers like speed-reading and mild telekinesis. But what could have been a pretty parable about age and acquisition gets over-gilded by a series of surprisingly tedious subplots including the century-later reappearance of Dominic’s deceased college sweetheart Laura (Alexandra Maria Lara), now a British school teacher possessed by the time-traveling spirit of a proto-goddess named Rupini. The suspicion that all this froth builds up towards nothing but some poetic imagery is inexorably realized and sours the magic of the second half of the film. Like David Lynch, Coppola now seems content to sling around ideas like dung and let the audience figure out what sticks. (Amy Nicholson)

 


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