THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
Starring Sean Penn, Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
By Shane Pinnegar
A gentle, masterfully shot and directed, road movie featuring an amazing performance from Sean Penn playing completely out of type as a bored, retired rock star who goes on a cross-US road-trip hunting the German war criminal who tormented his recently deceased father.
We never find out too much about Cheyenne’s rock background – the story is about his life now, 20 years into obscurity. With a loving wife – strongly played by Frances McDormand, and a young goth girl – played with a commanding nonchalance by Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson, as his primary “friends”, his quiet Irish home life is stilted and mind numbingly dull until he gets word his father is dying, and sets off to New York to reconcile.
Penn brings a unique childlike fragility to the guilt wracked Cheyenne, whose touching story unfolds as he goes from state to state encountering a variety of characters, including cameos by Talking Head David Byrne, Harry Dean Stanton and an intense performance by Judd Hirsch as an aging Nazi hunter.
Looking like a cross between The Cure’s Robert Smith and Edward Scissorhands, Penn’s Cheyenne stumbles from encounter to encounter, on a journey of discovery as he heads towards a long overdue awakening.
Sorrentino’s direction is wonderful throughout, and the cinematography, by 3 decade veteran Luca Bigazzi, is amazing – simple, yet evocative it charmingly follows Cheyenne’s coming of age journey.
Review Published 14 April 2012