Somewhere is one of those smaller films that either seems to work completely for people or not at all. Reading quick reviews for this film it seemed like everyone either said it was a beautiful work of art that hit them or that the experience of watching the film was equal to that of watching paint dry. This is similar to the response A Ghost Story got for example which was a movie I ended up overall liking so I was interested in giving this film a try. Though just like with A Ghost Story I didn't end up on one extreme side with this film, there are parts I liked and parts I was disappointed by. Somewhere follows movie star Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) who has lost himself in the fame and money. He regularly fills his life with alcohol and sex just to pass the time and really doesn't have much going for him outside of his successful acting career and his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) who visits him on occasion. He has to look after his daughter for an extended bit of time when his now ex-wife decides that she needs to take a break and it's during this time he spends with his daughter that he starts to reflect on his life and if it is truly what he wants.
As I mentioned the main issue people have with this film is its pacing and heavy artistic qualities. This is a movie that will linger on a scene that seems unimportant and spend extended time in scenes most films would cut away from quickly. I fully understand why so many people would have an issue with this as most of these scenes lack any real point and it can come off as boring at times but to be honest this didn't bother me at all. This is not a film with some big plot with a lot of moving parts, its a snapshot of this short period in these characters normal everyday life so to have these scenes that linger didn't feel out of place for me as life lingers. As you live you don't just cut away when you have understood the normally uninteresting point of an event. This made the film feel grounded and real for me and it helps that none of the scenes go on for too long. Sure they don't cut away when most films would but it's not like there are 10-minute sequences of nothing or anything crazy like that, the scenes linger for long enough that we notice it is lingering and feel the impact of that, once that point is reached then it moves on. It's actually one of the more impressive things about this film for me.
The shots are also pretty interesting especially with the actual shot composition itself. Harris Savides does a great job at shooting these scenes of normal settings that seem unremarkable at first in ways that make them stand out. The acting is also overall really solid, this is very early work from Elle Fanning and even at this early age, you can see the talent that she has. She comes off as so likable and honest and has really great chemistry with Stephen Dorff. They have a really natural feeling relationship which is really good at centering this movie. Stephen Dorff is also just impressive in his solo scenes, we have to get behind this character and root for him despite him losing his way and Dorff gives a really raw and honest performance especially in later scenes where he opens up about his true feelings and happiness. The part of this movie that I felt disappointed by was its story. All the elements were here for this to be something special but the story they were telling felt so generic. We have seen the story of a celebrity who has lost his way so many times and other than the artistic value of how they tell if there really is nothing new to this version. I kept waiting for this film to get to some new interesting level of this character study but it never got there. This was much more the reason that I ever felt bored than the editing. Sure this is a quality telling of this story with so many well-crafted elements, but it still lacked the impact it wanted to have. Overall I think Somewhere is a fine film, it is well made and has some really solid editing at least for me. Though even beyond the fact that most others don't like the editing here I don't know if I really can recommend this film. I don't see anything here that makes it the essential telling of this story. Maybe give it a try but if you have already seen stories like this I don't know if you're going to get much from this version.