Youth Without Youth
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (R)
A man struck by lightning begins to grow younger and acquire strange new powers.
It’s been “10 very long years” since Francis Ford Coppola last directed a movie, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. His much anticipated new one is “by turns bewitching, inspiring, enervating, and confounding.” Based on Mircea Eliade’s novel, it tells the story of 70-year-old Dominic Matei (Tim Roth), who in 1938 determines to commit suicide but is struck by lightning instead. Rather than die, however, he begins to get younger, stronger, and smarter. Pursued by Nazis, he flirts with their agent (Alexandra Pirici), then escapes with help from a doppelganger (also Roth). But don’t get hung up on the hallucinatory plot. “How to encapsulate someone else’s dream?” Themes of transience preoccupy the no-longer-young Coppola, said Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, and occasionally he “makes the audience feel the burden of years and the poignant transcendence of memory.” But for the most part, the story meanders without purpose. Youth Without Youth is both needlessly melodramatic and “airlessly intellectual,” said Stephen Whitty in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. Made on a razor-thin budget, “Youth Without Youth is not first- or even second-class Coppola.” Still, I hope the director doesn’t wait so long before getting back behind the camera again.