Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)

Oh, I'm starting to hate Paolo Sorrentino. After his decent but Scorsese-cribbing Il Divo, I never got to his This Must Be the Place, and after this ostensible magnum opus, I'm in no rush. A florid blend of Fellini, Antonioni and other Italian masters that replicates their gloss but none of their rich inner life, The Great Beauty instead comes off as the artiste's rant against the ills of society, almost none of which have to do with the pitfalls of Berlusconi's Italy and instead go after real power targets like pretentious performance artists, wannabe Marxists and vain nuns (oh, and did I mention practically every target is a woman?). Sure, Toni Servillo's director stand-in comes in for some criticism of his own, but that is delivered so lightly, with such affection, such an apology for the light rap of the knuckles, that to conflate it with the hostility spared for the film's low-hanging fruit is disingenuous.

My full review is up at Movie Mezzanine.

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