Like me you may have been mesmerised by the poster for ‘This Must Be The Place’ in which Sean Penn as a 50-year-old former rock star looking rather like a version of Robert Smith from The Cure. This film had some unusual Irish influence with the first 30-40 minutes set in Dublin and featuring a teenage Goth, Mary (Eve Hewson). There are many interesting shots of Dublin locations and according to France’s CNC, Ireland contributed €2 million to its overall budget of the €20m French, Italian co-production, €500,000 of which came from the Film Board and the rest, probably from Section 481. I would be very interested on what the actually return to the Irish tax payer will over time from this project. It shot here for less than 3 weeks with a small Irish crew.
Having seen Paolo Sorrentino’s last film Il Divo, about the life of Giulio Andreotti, the former Italian prime minister, which I enjoyed very much I may have been over optimistic about my expectations for ‘This Must Be The Place’. The film begins with Sean Penn a retired rocker aimlessly moving around Dublin in an almost trance like state meeting up a teenage Goth, Mary in a shopping centre. While the first 20 minutes may have held my interest that soon began to wane. Eventually Penn (Cheyenne) sets off with his wheelie suitcase (that becomes a feature of the move) to American to see his dying father. Arriving to find his father has died he accepts a mission to track down a former Nazi who persecuted his father during the war. Cheyenne and his suitcase set off on a journey across American eventually tracking down this old man in a trailer on the top of a snow covered peak. While I tried desperately hard to find meaning in this film the more it went on the more I became disengaged. The highlight of the film for me was the scene with David Byrne singing ‘This Must Be The Place’ from which the movie takes its name. It reminded me somewhat of ‘Paris Texas’ – this was whacky but not in a good way, two hours of my life that I can never get back.
(C) Tom Dowling 2012
Categories: Film and TV