Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno
Ganz, André Hennicke, Adrian Pintea
RunTime: 2 hrs 4 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.youthwithoutyouthmovie.com/
Opening Day: 18 September 2008
1938, Romania: at 70, a professor of language and philosophy,
Dominic Matei, contemplates suicide: the love of his life
is dead, and he remains unable to complete his life's work
on the origins of language. Then, he's struck by lightning.
After a slow recovery, he grows younger. He must now avoid
Nazis, who want to study and experiment on him. Some years
later, he meets a young woman who has her own passage through
a lightning storm. Not only does Dominic find love again,
but her new abilities hold the key to his research. Is the
sweetness of life finally at hand?
The name Francis Ford Coppola is one that is sure to draw
film aficionados anywhere and everywhere. This is afterall,
the master director behind all-time classics like The Godfather
trilogy and Apocalypse Now. So, is Youth Without Youth a movie
that ranks way up high as the two classics or will it be a
flop like Jack (yes, that Robin Williams movie that Coppola
did direct) considering there has been very little fanfare
about Youth Without Youth on our shores?
Roth stars as Professor Dominic Matei, an old Romanian professor
of language who only has death on his mind as he nears his
end. Crossing the road one day, Matei is struck by lightning
and miraculously survives the fatal accident though he remains
unrecognizable in the hospital. As he completes his recovery
process, it is soon discovered that he is a young man again.
The road ahead is one that is filled with a new-found love
and perhaps something that he never expected.
said, are the easiest parts of the movie. What happens next
is one that is full of complexities, constantly forcing you
to dig deep into the depths of your mind to fathom what is
happening or constantly singing you to sleep. While Coppola
manages to capture a sense of European romanticism, the movie
often dwells between the broody and the confusing. The confusion
starts when Matei falls in love with the young linguist, Veronica
(Alexandra Maria Lara) an incarnation of his past love from
many years back. Without giving too much away, her condition
starts to deteriorate after an accident and Matei’s
strength appears to grow each time he is with her.
Roth is a fantastic actor, the poorer man’s version
of Gary Oldman in one way but I am certain that will not be
for long as his recognition is long overdue. The Hulk is a
start but that is another story. Here, Roth’s nuances
as an old man finding his youth again are wonderful as he
goes through the process of rediscovery, yet, his performance
is far from his best, often choppy possibly because he himself
was not too sure how to play dual characters. Maria Lara tries
to keep up with Roth and everyone else is in a somewhat pedestrian
role including the ever reliable Bruno Ganz.
the overall, Youth Without Youth is a very slow movie, plodding
from one point to another not quite certain where it is headed.
For a movie about being young again, I left the cinema feeling
quite the opposite. There are circles which have claimed this
to be Coppola’s best work to date heralding it as a
tribute to movies of yesteryears. I might need to watch this
multiple times just to 'get it' or perhaps I just happen to
think that this is definitely not one of Coppola’s best
efforts to date.
(If you like a deep, broody movie on any given day, then this
is for you)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri