Movie review: 'This Must Be the Place' is all over the place

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"Meandering" doesn't begin to describe "This Must Be the Place," writer-director Paolo Sorrentino's skewed look at America through the eyes of one of its strangest citizens.

That would be Cheyenne (Sean Penn), a wealthy, wispy-voiced, eyeliner-abusing ex-pop star living with his wife (Frances McDormand) in Ireland. He's rather aimless in life, until the death of his father in America gives him a mission of sorts: hunting down the Nazi concentration-camp guard who tormented Cheyenne's father during the Holocaust.

Cheyenne's journey takes him across America (even stopping in Huntsville, Utah), but it's such a slow, wandering trip that one questions whether his heart is in it.

Sorrentino (co-writing with Umberto Contarello) takes tangents to discuss parental relationships, roam the highways and play several variations on the title song — including one performed by its creator, David Byrne (who's depicted as one of Cheyenne's old rocker pals). If there's a point here, it's lost in the weeds of Sorrentino's pretty vistas and Penn's sweetly unhinged performance.; —


'This Must Be the Place'

Opens Friday, Dec. 21, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for language, some sexual content and brief disturbing images; 118 minutes.