Screen » Film Reviews

Youth Without Youth

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Despite bigger name films available to rent, I saw the name Francis Ford Coppola at the top of the DVD case and had to check it out. It stars Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs), and the plot sounded rather sci-fi. Visions of Coppola's prior films Dracula and The Godfather danced in my head as I put the disc into my player. Two hours later, it ended, and though home alone, I looked around confusedly, desperately needing someone to tell me what I'd just witnessed.

In 1938 Romania, the available time for 70-year-old academic Dominic Matei (Roth) to complete his masterpiece novel is waning. When he's struck by lightning, he not only makes a full recovery, but his body reverts to that of a 40-year-old. Doctors are baffled and Nazi leaders are intrigued, so he assumes an alternate identity and continues researching with a new female companion.

Coppola, now near 70 himself, said in DVD special features that the film's topics—like time, thought and life—are more important to him at this phase of his life. I'm not sure how the book by Mercia Eliade of the same name touches on these subjects, but the film does so in an exceptionally shifty and confusing manner. "Out there" Darren Aronofsky films like The Fountain and Requiem For a Dream have nothing on Coppola's latest offering.

Though fans of transcendental studies might just be in heaven while watching, the average viewer will be scratching his or her head. Just don't call me afterward—I'm certain you understood it better than I.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.