Youth Without Youth

Plot: Dominic (Tim Roth) is an old professor of linguistics. When he is struck by lightning, his youth is somehow restored. Nazi scientists are interested, and Dominic must go on the run. He then encounters a woman who reminds him of his lost love, and he must choose between his life’s work and love.

Who’s it for: To whom shall I recommend this film? I’m not sure. If you see everything, and want to see something original (and confusing/rambling) then this is for you.

Expectations: Francis Ford Coppola has directed “The Godfather” and “Jack.” It’s best not to have expectations anymore. I was intrigued with Tim Roth, whose last great role came in 1995 with “Rob Roy.”

SCORECARD
Actors:
Tim Roth as Dominic: Roth is able to move like a frail old man even after Dominic’s youth is restored. The split personality that eventually develops doesn’t have consistency or purpose.
Grade: 5

Alexandra Maria Lara as Veronica/Laura: I know Coppola didn’t want to overexplain the Veronica/Laura connection but the love that Dominic has for them needed to be shown, and there never seemed to be a reason beyond physical attraction.
Grade: 4

Talking: For a professor of linguistics, Dominic never says anything of importance. There is talk about the nuclear age and the beginning of language. We understand Dominic is passionate about things but we never join the journey.
Grade: 3

Sights and sounds: Coppola attempts to hark back to an early style of film. The opening credits are grandiose just like the ’40s and ’50s. But his attempted emotions are left empty as he fails with dream sequences and purpose.
Grade: 3

OVERALL
“Youth Without Youth” is incomprehensible. I wish I could say almost incomprehensible because then on some level I would have been able to understand what Francis Ford Coppola was going for. Train wreck. At its core the film is supposed to be a love story. The problem is Veronica leaves Dominic for no reason early in the film. So then we are left with Dominic and Laura reacting differently to lightning strikes. I was convinced the film was three hours even though it clocks in at just over two. This is the perfect example of what can happen when a producer/director/writer doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Coppola makes an artistic mess.

Overall Grade: 3

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