Had liked this quite a lot when I first saw it a few years back. It doesn't hold up so well on second viewing, but is still compelling. Made more of visual than ideas, or to put it more precisely, its ideas are better felt through the images than conveyed through the words.
I really shouldn't comment upon this as I didn't/couldn't watch it all. However, the bits I did watch were shit. Pretentious is an ugly and blanket term used by some people for things they don't understand, or for someone who is doing Art that takes itself far too seriously and isn't very good: "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed." This is pretentious.
I liked the second act best, with the Nazis and the espionage. However, the magic-realism elements at the beginning and end were lost on me. It isn't that I don't appreciate such ideas; I just couldn't see how the whole thing was supposed to fit together. Maybe, in a few years time, I'll have a better understanding of it. For now I will commend Coppola for making something that looks and feels profoundly beautiful.
A lightning strike reverses the aging of a 70-year-old man at the same time the spark of digital cinema signals Coppola's own rebirth. Coppola's literary, musical and philosophical ruminations have rarely been so evocatively combined with his equal love of cinema history, of which he immodestly but rightly sees himself a part. A great, woefully unheralded late-period resurrection.
This ranges between 1 and 5 stars for a film viewing experience that ended up being one of the finer MST3k-style riff sessions I've had. It's surprising how with a director we all like, an actor we all enjoy, and a great basis from which the story could unfold, we end up with this magical mess of smoke rings and cooling filters which provided two hours of material to poke at.
A non cohesive and flawed experiment with some incredibly poignant moments, a haunting love story and a score to die for. Tim Roth is a very gifted and highly underrated actor, capable of transmiting sorrow and anxiety quite easily. I only wish Coppola had concentrated on structure and pace a little bit more.