Fifteen seconds into the trailer for Paolo Sorrentino’s “This Must Be the Place,” and Sean Penn awkward laughing as has-been rock star Cheyenne — a breathy giggle that emanates from lips tinged with red lipstick — helps to immediately set the tone for the remaining minute and 45 seconds.
It’s a light, quirky trailer — bouncy, almost — though the issues that thrust it forward are indisputably dark: Cheyenne, after learning of his father’s passing, sets out on the road (Kerouac-style) to seek out his father’s persecutor during his time at Auschwitz so many years ago. It also seems to play out as a coming-of-(middle)-age story — Cheyenne appears uncomfortable in his own skin, his nervous giggles betraying the façade of an otherwise bored man.
Juggling the Holocaust and daddy issues in one film is a heavy task; considering, in particular, that Penn’s character admits only knowing about the Holocaust and his father “in a general sort of way.” Whatever the case may be — with original music written by David Bryne of Talking Heads and a fantastic clip of Penn dribbling Jägermeister down his cheek — “This Must Be the Place” looks to be quite the trip.
“This Must Be the Place” opens on November 2nd via The Weinstein Company.