Youth Without Youth Francis Ford Coppola

Youth Without Youth Francis Ford Coppola
This was intended as the Coppola comeback after ten years of silence and about as many attempts trying to adapt to commercial exigencies; it’s entirely in character for the once-towering auteur but otherwise not for a director of his (admittedly diminishing) stature. Based on stories by Romanian author Mercia Eliade, it deals with an aged man (Tim Roth) who’s hit by lightning and suddenly regresses in age to about 40. He’s got a host of other mystical superpowers — not the least of which is the ability to "know” a book by simply picking it up — but mostly he’s a special person misunderstood and hunted for his gifts, which makes things dicey, as the film begins in the Nazi era and progresses into the ’60s. Alas, there’s no real political subtext (the Nazis are straight out of that movie they watch in Kiss of the Spider Woman), just another feeble stab at "big issues” by someone still trying to prove his artistic powers in an intellectual vacuum. Once Roth’s love interest appears in the form of a woman who’s regressing in time to the beginnings of the world (played by Alexandra Maria Lara, with the same anesthetised puzzlement as everyone else), you get the feeling that Coppola never got out of the ’70s. He indulges in that period’s new-age hokum to such an extent that you half-expect a guest appearance by Erich von Daniken. The whole thing smacks of an old man’s movie — not the glorious summation of a lifetime’s work but a nostalgic clinging to some best-forgotten ideas of youth. Extras include a predictably pompous (and predictably vague) commentary by Coppola, a brief and useless "making of” clip and lengthy featurettes on the music and the make-up. (American Zoetrope/Mongrel Media)