Youth Without Youth

This film could be taken as a muddled fan-boy mess, mixing all of Francis Ford Coppola’s nerdy interests into a pointless mélange and masturbatory mess of show-offy camera techniques. Or, as I would prefer it, it could be seen a deeply personal film, the story of an elderly man unsatisfied with his life’s work who, in a strike of lightning, is given new youth, new powers of mind and another shot at the love he lost. Tim Roth stars as Professor Dominic Matei, whose life traces the major events of 20th-century history. Starting the film as a 70-year-old man, he’s transformed into a powerful 40-year-old who must find a way to balance his need for love with his desire for success. Ancient spirits, prostitute-spies, creepy linguists and Nazi super-scientists all chase or compel him across the changing European landscape. If, in the end, not all of the pieces come together, at least Coppola is still attempting to do something challenging and artistic, and not just cashing the big, fat checks that he could surely get for making Godfather Versus Predator or Peggy Sue Got Spider Powers.


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