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The debut feature by acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (La Grande Bellezza) is a stylish and blackly comic look at the dark side of fame. Evocatively set during the eighties, the ... See full summary »
Fred and Mick, two old friends, are on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a movie director, is still working. They look with curiosity and tenderness on their children's confused lives, Mick's enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important movie, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. But someone wants at all costs to hear him conduct again.Written by
Anonymous Love Revolver
Sorrentino's follow up to the masterpiece that is "The Great Beauty" proves he is one of the most interesting, unique, energetic and visually stimulating voices in today's cinema even though it does not quite live up to standard he set himself with his previous film. Now, that is in no way a detraction to the film itself, but it definitely left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
I will get out of the way immediately what I found wrong with the film. Firstly, it simply isn't as organic and fluent as it should be. Even the photography is uneven to itself. Now I don't know if that was intentional or not, but the fact that I didn't understand it proves the point. And I am not talking about the surrealist scenes with I actually and obviously adored, I am talking about the overall tone and storytelling which switches gears a little bit too often, especially in the third act. Up until there it wasn't bugging me that much, but the third act made it sink and to this contributed a very weird end credits sequence, if you'll see the movie you'll know what I'm talking about. Moreover, the movie isn't as clear cut as it needs to be. I am not talking about being direct, actually I enjoyed the fact that it is very open to interpretation in parts and directs your interpretation in others, yet again there is too much switching from one to the other and it made for some murky moments throughout. It is not like I want to be told everything, it's just that the film set itself up for being mentally stimulating and it wasn't as much as I wanted. Actually the parts were it was direct were the best, on the other hand I wasn't given enough space or material to think about the more interpretable parts and this made for a slightly and surprisingly forgettable impact.
Fortunately there is much that can be enjoyed, which compensates for the holes that were left there. Firstly, no one does surrealism as good as Sorrentino. There were a couple of sequences were I was just in total ecstasy. Sorrentino knows how to fill that screen and use it to the best of its potential with imagery and he proves here again he is able of delivering absolutely absorbing and exhilarating experiences, the best part being the fact that they aren't a gimmick they always fit the storytelling perfectly. He also knows very, very well how to use music to the best of his advantages. Also brilliant is Luca Bigazzi's cinematography. I know I said it was uneven before and that is true, but when you stop and look at it scene by scene you just cannot take it all in. The cast is also wonderful. Keitel and Caine are simply fantastic, Dano does perfectly what he is given to do, but it's Weiz that for me stole the show and gave another great performance. There are very few actresses that fill the screen appropriately and as perfectly as she does. This film is also enormously quotable, I lost count of how many times in the theater I wished I had a notepad to write down a sentence a character used. Even better is the fact that they always felt genuine and not showy. This speaks to what I said before: the film is miles better in what it says directly to what it leaves open. Now that is not to say that the open ended stuff is bad or aimless. For that type of pseudo-intellectualism s**t just look at "The Tale of Tales" out this week too. That is the type that is simply vain. In this movie it's just very murky, there are some parts that work others that don't but you always feel that it is coming out genuinely.
Overall I really enjoyed myself and I can't define me disappointed, I am just a little bit let down, but then again I was excepting too much. I am still very torn on my grade and will use a future viewing to settle it. This film is worth your time I don't know if it's an 8 or a 7.5, just know that it is very good.
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