The third film to be released on Apple TV +, following The Banker and Greyhound (I've seen it, and I have yet to publish the review), this new fiction brings together a great director with a cast of prominent characters.
Director Sofia Coppola, actor Bill Murray and actress Rashida Jones come together to tell a story, almost a pretext, to be able to shoot together.
I must confess that I was not a great follower of Sofía Coppola, after Virgins Suicides and Lost in translation, her name has disappeared from my mental landscape, although of course I remember the promotion of Marie Antoinette (maybe I have also seen her - or at least snippets - on TV) but I never knew it was his movie.
Perhaps viewers will take the lead if I establish similarities - even kinship - with Lost in the translation: both portray cities and - in these times - the vitality that welcomes them. Especially in times of pandemics, a convertible ride is welcome. Both also show misfits, unable to understand the world around them and the rules that govern it, even if perhaps that means pulling too hard to find similarities. Since Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola's masterpiece, it is natural to relate everything to her.
Since 1998, when she made her first short film, she has made 8 films (in 22 years!), All written, produced and directed by her (except Suicidal Virgins, which was not produced by her). Out of curiosity, Sofia Coppola was married to Spike Jonze, who is also producing documentaries for Apple TV + (Beastie Boys Story)
With Bill Murray I have a “closer” relationship, in the sense that I have seen his films with more continuity, even in those secondary roles of almost B-grade films that he agrees to continue working. It could be said that over the years Bill Murray has become a character of himself, or at least has that tendency to accept characters who are a little surreal, grumpy and / or out of the system. His legend, or his mythology, seems to be built upon him, or in spite of him.
Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray first collaborated on Lost in Translation (2003), followed by A Very Murray Christmas (2015) for Netflix and now On the rocks (2020) for Apple TV +.
Rashida Jones did not know her, and besides saying that she is the daughter of Quincy Jones and that she is fine in her role (like Bill Murray's traveling companion, who eats the screen) little else I can add. He has moved on to secondary and short roles, so I guess this is his "coming out".
Without delving into the film, it can be summarized as follows: wife and mother (Rashida Jones) bored with routine and absorbed in the work-home / home-work duality, desperately needs some spice in her life, and her father (Bill Murray) is eager to contribute. Together they will embark on adventures that are mere pretexts for conducting dialogues.
If I couldn't get the kinetics to burn my photo, here's another try: I find some concomitances with some phases of Woody Allen, (saving distances) where the whole scene is a pretext to show the intimate and public relations of characters.
It is a film that could be seen in the cinema (if we weren't bogged down in this anomaly that they want to sell us as "the new reality") and you would leave comforted and willing to have a drink and complete a wonderful evening.
Although I'm not sure it's a positive value (at least for everyone) I will mention equidistance. It could very well have turned into an outlandish comedy, or a whimpering drama about marriage and routine, or a city street movie, or a psychological "WoodyAllenism" about the dehumanization of modern society, and so on. Instead, every time the plot pulls in one direction or another, the director takes the reins and reorients everything to avoid falling into an easy classification.
Despite the director and the artists involved, the film is viewed with a certain disinterest. It's not bad enough to remove, but it's also not good enough to hold interest.
That equidistance we mentioned earlier sometimes works against them, because it leaves the viewer wanting to know what would happen if he squeezed the situation to the max. Instead, the action continues, moving on to the next act.
It is not a film that you finish it and want to see it again, but surely in two, three, five years you will see it with pleasure.
It's a nice addition to the Apple TV + “wardrobe”, which shines more and more in its mural of big names.