Il Divo (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/03/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

Impressively made, beautifully shot and well acted drama, though it's almost impossible to follow without a working knowledge of Italian politics.

What's it all about?
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino (who made the thematically similar The Consequences of Love), Il Divo stars Toni Servillo (Sorrentino's lead actor in Consequences) as real-life Italian politician Giulio Andreotti, who served as a Christian Democrat Prime Minister seven times between the 1970s and the 1990s. Ostensibly a biopic (of sorts), the film presents several snapshots from Andreotti's political and personal life, before slowing down to concentrate on his approach to his trial, both for having Mafia connections and for ordering the murder of a journalist.

The Good
The film is beautifully shot, courtesy of Luca Bigazzi's impressive cinematography, and expertly edited by Cristiano Travaglioli. There's also a terrific soundtrack and Sorrentino orchestrates a number of visually stunning scenes, several of which recall films by both Scorsese (a serving of Goodfellas, a dash of Taxi Driver) and Coppola (montage sequences that wouldn't be out of place in The Godfather).

Toni Servillo cuts an impressive figure as Andreotti, presenting an inscrutable facade that has obviously served the politician well over the years (a credit informs us that Andreotti still has a seat in the Italian senate). There's also strong support from Anna Bonaiuto, as Andreotti's wife, Livia, and from an uncredited Fanny Ardant as the wife of a French ambassador.

The Bad
The biggest problem with the film is that it's almost impossible to follow unless you have a working knowledge of the Italian political system; as a result, you're constantly aware that various allusions and references are flying over your head. The filmmakers attempt to compensate for this with an onscreen glossary at the beginning, but this only makes it worse, because the information comes faster than you can take it in.

Worth seeing?
In short, Il Divo is a beautifully shot, impressively directed and superbly edited film with a strong central performance from Toni Servillo. Worth seeing, then, but you might want to bone up on Italian politics beforehand.

Film Trailer

Il Divo (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 03:55

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