Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Bill Told Scarlett

Lost in Translation is one of my favorite indie movies of the 2000s. Not just because it has Bill Murray and a young heartthrob named Scarlett Johansson (now Mrs. Ryan *spit* Reynolds, and no it won't last more than 5 years absolute TOPS).

The movie is about two Americans who meet each other while temporarily stationed in Tokyo. They are both in unhappy relationships, and though they are very far apart in age, they strike a connection that blossoms into a very subtle romance. So subtle, in fact, that it isn't really considered an "official" romance until the last 30 seconds or so of screen time.

The film is a metaphor for finding a connection with another person in a world where you don't feel you are understood. There are lots of shots of these characters isolated, in their hotel rooms, or sitting by themselves. Lots of static camera angles and slow, deliberate -- some would even say boring -- scenes. In fact none of the Japanese dialogue in the film is subtitled, further adding to the sense of alienation and solitude.

It's only when these to serendipitously find each other that the film begins to "pic up," both in pace and in tone.

The climax -- and one of the more intriguing scenes in recent film history -- is the very last scene of the movie. Bill Murray has to catch a flight back to his home in Los Angeles (coincidentally also where the Johansson character lives), but before he leaves, he tracks her down. He hugs her, but before he goes, he whispers something in her ear. It is pretty much inaudible (and yes, I watched it with the subtitles on just to be sure my ears weren't going bad).

In the video below, someone digitally altered the sound and figured out what he said to her. And it's not some jokey, fake "gotcha" in case you were wondering. You can actually hear him say it. And what's great about it is that you could basically tell in the movie that this is roughly what he said, but it was so much better that they kept it a secret.

If you haven't seen the movie, you may want to skip this video... but go out and rent it. If you've always wondered, here it is.

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