With just a quick glance, you might think you're looking at a poorly aged Robert Smith, emo-goth king and voice of The Cure. Instead, heavily caked in lifeless white makeup and accessorizing his mourning with tear-ready black eyeliner is Sean Penn, stripped of his Haitian hero grit to his most vulnerable self.
In a brief clip from "This Must Be The Place," Penn stutters, both uncertain and determined, to a trip that he, in the persona of his retired rockstar character, hopes will firm his voice and bring him peace. Disaffected and bored, Penn's Cheyenne learns that his just-passed Holocaust-survivor father was tortured by a Nazi soldier, and that the soldier is still alive and living in the United States. Seeking closure, he sets out to find the elderly fascist and avenge the long-ago brutality.
A scene from the beginning of Paolo Sorrentino's film, we see Penn's Cheyenne bidding farewell to Frances McDormand, who appears to be a friend and caretaker of sorts for the damaged star. Sorentino and the Oscar-winning pair will debut the film at Cannes Film Festival, where they hope to take on the coveted Palme d'Or.
Penn has a second film debuting in the festival, as well, in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." In that highly anticipated drama, he plays the grown up son of a harsh Brad Pitt; "Tree of Life" is also hotly tipped to contend for the Palme.
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