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After a decade's absence from directing, Francis Ford Coppola seizes on a metaphysical fantasy novella by Mircea Eliade—about a Romanian linguist in the 1930s (Tim Roth) who starts to grow younger after being hit by lightning—as both a personal allegory and, like his lively Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), an opportunity to try out a good many visual effects. Unfortunately this lacks the safety net of Dracula's familiar story and heaps on one outlandish premise after another (the hero produces a doppelganger and falls in love with a woman who goes into trances, speaks in ancient languages, and starts to age rapidly), eventually skirting incoherence. I'm all for bold screwiness, but this provocation seems labored despite the striking images. With Alexandra Maria Lara. R, 124 min.

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