|Index||1 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After seeing Roberto Ando's previous film, "Long Live Liberty", a
brilliant satire on the state of Italian, or more generally European
left, I naturally had rather high expectations for his latest, "The
Confessions". It was difficult to imagine that a director who made one
of the wittiest political commentaries with a number of memorable and
well developed interwoven characters, including the two twin brothers
played by the same great Tony Servillo, could make anything much less.
But sometimes unimaginable readily becomes all too real. Let me
The main problem of the film is that it is unclear what exactly its script is trying to be: 1) a detective mystery story, with the fate of the world depending on the investigation of an unexpected death of the IMF chief played by Daniel Auteuil, depicting a character presumably made after the brilliant, but as of recently ill-fated Strauss-Kahn, 2) insightful satirical (again!) political film, showing how semi-secret meetings behind the closed doors make our democratic orders nothing but elaborate shams, 3) metaphysical rumination on relative irrelevance of our (and, somewhat satisfyingly, our financial ministers') everyday worries when compared with birds' songs and children's books. In fact the film clearly attempts to be all three of the above, and it is precisely in this too high an ambition where its fatal weakness lies.
As a crime thriller the film simply does not deliver, as it is almost obvious what happened to the unfortunate IMF chief from the very beginning, and in particular that the Tony Servillo's monk to whom he confessed, had nothing to do with his death. The only real mystery is what was actually confessed, but aside from being told that it is something extremely important for the entire world, we never actually learn anything about it. There is of course the elegant mathematical formula (which looked like a stochastic diffusion equation, for the experts) that we learn was divulged during their meeting, but even the ministers do not quite know what to do with it when they finally extract it from the monk, who conveniently, was a mathematician in his pre-monk life. Particularly inapt in the whole business seems the meeting's security chief, played otherwise well by one of my favourites, Moritz Bleibtreu, who together with his equally inadequate subordinates roams the hotel's corridors in eternal frustration irritating everybody, including the viewers.
As a political commentary the film fails in its depiction of the complicated and often random world of global politics as pretty much a simple conspiracy of the G8 finance ministers and their friends in the banking world. While this will probably confirm the worst fears (or hopes!) of numerous conspiracy theory zealots I guess it will leave the intelligence of better informed viewers mildly insulted. We are reminded time and time again during the film that unimaginable horrors are likely to happen if the information is leaked out of their close circle, whose preeminence therefore cannot be doubted. While after the Piketty's work the unfortunate hyper-concentration of western world's wealth is almost common knowledge, the premise is still a bit too simplistic to be taken seriously.
Finally, we come to the metaphysical, should I say religious, dimension of the film. Namely, the main character is an Italian monk, played by appropriately restrained Servillo, who is too wise, too good, and too white and dignified for the company in which he found himself. Indeed it is hard to comprehend why he would even accept an unlikely invitation to such a gathering, if not maybe out of pure curiosity. (It cannot be because of vanity, or gluttony, since he is obviously fully immune to these mortal sins.) Although his motivation may not be so clear, his role in the film is: he is nothing else but the eyes of God, who watches over even the most powerful. (Why he would not intervene in their all-important business upon which his creation so strongly depends is less clear.) What he sees he does not like or approve, and he takes the opportunity to warn the ministers to watch what they are doing to the world's poor in his final speech delivered over the coffin of the deceased IMF chief. After this, he vanishes into thin air, only to reappear in the very last scene followed by a massive black rottweiler, who apparently got disgusted with protecting the world of high finance and decided to spend the rest of his dog days following the wise monk.
In its ambition, stellar international casting, isolated beautiful location (Rostock/Germany), some of the themes, rhythm, and the overall style, the film loudly echoes Sorrentino, particularly his early "The Consequences of Love", and the latest "The Youth", but manages only to prove how dangerous such artistically ambitious film making can be. Even Sorrentino does not always succeed in it. That, of course, does not mean one should stop trying. I wish Ando better luck next time.
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|