<Todd>’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Nothing's right, I'm torn" - Natalie Imbruglia
I decided to rewatch this in search of whether it holds up and how racist is it really? In short, the answers are not that well AND yes, this film is racist.
PRO: I can't say I hate this film because for me it has so many beautiful moments. This film does a great job of demonstrating isolation and regret. I think the acting is excellent. I think Bill Murray adds humanity to his character, who is flawed, and that makes the character interesting for the viewer. Some people need to like their protagonist and I feel sorry for them because they miss so many good movies.
NO: It's boring, pretentious, and it's a pretty orientalist film. Most of the culture that is portrayed as being weird in this movie is stuff that America eventually came to idolize and endorse so it feels even more tone deaf than it may have already. Of course the stereotypes are heightened to represent how the two of them feel because they are alone and isolated in a strange place but it's a metaphor that shouldn't have worked in 2003 and definitely doesn't work today. Some of the moments are incredibly cringy.