Writer-director Paolo Sorrentino’s stylish biopic on former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti is a brilliantly executed testament to the visual power of cinema: unless you’ve closely followed Italy’s political history over the last 20 years you probably won’t understand what’s going on—but it’s all so astonishingly gorgeous, you won’t care. Sorrentino has clearly swallowed a decent helping of Goodfellas and washed it down with Kubrick as his hunchbacked Andreotti, (who is called “Il Divo”—among other things—by his detractors) glides coolly stone-faced through dazzling assassinations of parliamentary friends, stopping along the way to silence opponents with delicate witticisms at politically-charged dinner parties and finally, by film’s end, floating ethereally through a scandalous trial that threatens to doom his seventh consecutive administration. Accompanying the rich visuals and dialogue is a lush soundtrack—one of the finest in modern film history—with a score by Teho Teardo and additional lounge/electronica/rock songs by contemporary Italian artists, all brilliantly unfurled behind and cut into this grand tapestry of cinematic vision. And while you may not entirely understand who this second-in-command-man is, or what crimes he allegedly committed, you probably will recognize his quips, condescension and Darth Vadarian demeanor from our own recent political history.
Il Divo, MPI Home Video. 110 min. Unrated. English Subtitles. List Price $27.98.