Paolo Sorrentino’s rumination on the career of Italy’s immovable post-war zombie-politician Giulio Andreotti, seven-time Prime Minister with an imposing trail of scandals, suicides, Vatican corruption & inside deals behind him, is probably impossible for Stateside audiences to parse or keep up with. So many plot threads, characters, alliances & power struggles. But it’s so compellingly put together, and speaks with such elegant visual logic, that it carries the viewer along like some Grand Opera where you find yourself a little bit lost, but able to see the big picture while swooning to the music. With narrative abstracted into art, it’s an enthralling work. Inexplicably so, like its Po-faced protagonist.
DOUBLE-BILL: Sorrentino’s follow-up feature, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE/’11, with an unlikely Sean Penn as an ex-glam/punk rock star, was a train wreck in its Stateside release. But it sounds a bit more intriguing after IL DIVO . . . if it’s possible to get past the poster of Penn in drag.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: IL DIVO is just the sort of rapt, artistic treatment we need of Nixon. Literal attempts to capture the man all fall short.