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Il Divo (2008)

Il Divo Screenshot

I think the only thing we liked about this one is how stylish the movie is. The canted camera angles and the steadicam shots through these huge cavernous corridors of the mansion are all really magnificently shot. Everything feels larger-than-life and the film almost feels like an Italian goth horror movie set to pop music and electronica. But despite all these wonderful stylistic devices, the film ultimately feels empty and vacuous.

Pan read a comment earlier somewhere that part of the reason the audience is unable to keep track of the various characters is because the film is designed to mirror the confusion and frustration that the Italian law-enforcement agencies felt while sorting through this complicated case. It’s not that we aren’t comfortable not knowing who these characters are and what their role in the entire conspiracy is. We are fine with ambiguity usually don’t need a movie to tie up every thread ever so neatly.

But what left us so dissatisfied is that ultimately we felt like we got nothing from the film apart from a.) that Andreotti was really witty (We concede that the film has tons of brilliant lines) and b.) gosh, so much corruption in the Italian government. What we didn’t see was why this is worse than the corruption in any other country. The magnitude of the horror is conveyed not through the film as a whole but through this one scene where Guilio Andreotti talks about the number of people whose deaths he is responsible for.

So apart from knowing that Andreotti and co. were directly linked with the mafia and that everyone was willing to betray everyone else (heh, doesn’t sound too different from any other political thriller really), we didn’t get anything. The portrait of Andreotti felt like nothing but exaggerated affectation to us.

And the point of several scenes was entirely lost on us too. For instance, what is the relevance of the scene with the woman who comes to see him?. There is some verbal exposition on how to read Andreotti’s body language but why was she even there? Was that scene only to point out these mannerisms to us?

Ultimately, we weren’t sure exactly what to take away from the film. It wasn’t a scathing indictment of a man who is purportedly responsible for the death of hundreds of people. It didn’t really serve as an interesting character study either. A lot of scenes that seem to be shot as if they’re important didn’t really tie up into a whole that made sense to us.

Apart from the soundtrack and the visual flair, we really didn’t get much out of this one.

Pan-Card: C-             Scorn-Card: D 

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