This Must Be The Place (2011)

Director:Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch

Response bias is a type of cognitive bias which can affect the results of a statistical survey if respondents answer questions in the way they think the questioner wants them to answer rather than according to their true beliefs. This may occur if the questioner is obviously angling for a particular answer (as in push polling) or if the respondent wishes to please the questioner by answering what appears to be the “morally right” answer“. (from

What does this definition have to do with the film? Well, after watching This Must Be the Place, I feel like I am the “respondent”, “the questioner” and the society establishing the “morally right” answer. Thing is: I don’t like the director, Paolo Sorrentino. I mean, he’s technically skilled and creative, but I just can’t stand the way he “builds” the stories. In every movie he tries to be metaphorical, hyper-intellectual, poetic, theatrical, whatever. I just don’t like it.
As for This Must be the Place… I really don’t know. Everyone says it’s a good movie, much more accessible than the rest of Sorrentino’s filmography. But again, I saw too much of the director’s self-importance in the film. Lines sounded more like a list of nice and highbrow aphorisms, rather than dialogues. Everything was so aesthetically crafted that it looked fake to me. It was the director showing his skills, rather than telling a story. Which, by the way, could have been really good.
Sean Penn plays Cheyenne, a retired 80’s rock star wich lives in  own world of boredom and numbness. Until the death of his father. Then he sets out to find his father’s executioner, an ex-Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the U.S. Again, everyone says that Sean Penn’s performance is extraordinary. But I don’t see that neither. To me, it’s just like an imitation of  Robert James Smith, Ozzie Osbourne and Edward Scissor Hand. There’s nothing original in Cheyenne.

I know that because of my responsive bias, my opinion is not objective. So tell me, you reader: what’s the truth about this film? Also, in general, do you have any other responsive bias too, towards directors, actors, producers, etc.?

PS: speaking of imitation… seen the film poster at the beginning of this article? Does it look familiar? It could be… Here’s a hint: