Criterion Collection: The Great Beauty | Blu-ray Review

In Paolo Sorrentino’s lavishly received Italian crime potboiler Il Divo, the stage is set with a world building montage that places us in a blood-bathed Rome ruled by politically backed hit men, and finally settles in, dollies up, and asks it’s leading man, Toni Servillo giving his best dead-eyed Giulio Andreotti impression, to stare straight into the camera and speak directly on how others seem to perceive him. Bizarrely, The Great Beauty begins almost the exact same way, but this version of Rome is not one of physical violence and political intimidation, but one solely focused on aristocratic appearances and the reciprocation of surface relationships.

Servillo, this time living in the skin of a facetiously jaded, secretly sulking part-time journalist and eternal socialite named Jep Gambardella, is found standing in the midst of his own lavish 65th birthday party, once again staring into the camera, memories of what
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