What do you call Sean Penn dressed like Robert Smith in a movie named after a Talking Heads song, with music written by David Byrne and Bonnie “Prince” Billy? You call it one goddamned awesome-looking movie.
Around the time he announced he’d be spending most of the rest of his natural life in Haiti doing humanitarian work, Sean Penn also announced he’d continue making movies, in part because he needed the money. “I had just got taken for one half of everything I had in the divorce,” he said, “so it’s not like I don’t have to work.”
By this, he apparently did not mean that he was about to start starring in “Transformers 3″ to pay the bills.
Penn’s new movie, the Paolo Sorrentino-directed “This Must Be The Place,” looks like it blazes new trails into the wild and unkempt territory of the strange and quirky. Were it not for talent involved, it’d sound like the most arcane of art-house movies. Penn plays a rich ex-rock star clearly modeled on The Cure’s Robert Smith. The Robert Smith character travels to New York to visit his dying father, but he arrives too late. Somehow he learns that his father was tortured in the Holocaust, and sets out on a cross-country trip to find and exact revenge on an Auschwitz SS Officer hiding out somewhere in the Southwest.
As if Robert Smith cruising around the Southwest to rough up an old Nazi weren’t bizarre enough, it also features an appearance by David Byrne himself (no idea why the title is a Talking Heads reference instead of a Cure reference), as well as a starring role for Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson, and music co-written by David Byrne and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. And Frances McDormand is in it.
Best movie ever? The song in the teaser below is as good as you’d expect it to be. At the very least “This Must Be The Place” just moved to the top of our short list for must-sees for 2011.