Penn’s subtleties make ‘This Must Be the Place’ worth a watch
This Must Be The Place takes us into the life of a retired rock star, Cheyenne (Sean Penn), his wife Jane, (Frances McDormand), and their dog, living comfortably off his royalties in Dublin. Each day he feels the need to meticulously put his make up, nail polish, and rocker clothes on in order to exist in the world. This is a man, with little to no energy, that can’t find a thing in life left to get excited about. Cheyenne’s life begins to change when he gets word that his father is dying and he must make his way to the states.
Once in New York we learn that Cheyenne’s father was a survivor of the holocaust and has spent much of his life hunting down a German because of a humiliation he suffered in World War II.
Cheyenne originally had plans to head back to Dublin after seeing his family, but ends up renting a vehicle and traveling across the U.S. to pick up where his father left off in the hunt to find the German. This self-assigned mission takes him way out of his comfort zone and allows him to look and think about, life in a completely different way. His trip puts him in situations and circumstances he has never been in before. He meets some amazing people, one of whom is played by the amazing Harry Dean Stanton. He also meets a colleague of his father and known German hunter played by Judd Hirsch. His conversations with the people he comes across are enjoyable and they all do a good job of making Cheyenne, as well as the audience, think about life and its many curiosities.
Near the end of his journey you begin to see a change in Cheyenne, he purchases a gun and it seems that he is more aware of himself. At one point it seemed as though the film was going to turn into God Bless America, but that didn’t happen.
For many people This Must Be The Place would seem very slow paced and pointless, but Penn’s quiet, but purposeful performance makes us see there is much going on in this self-reflective film.