Il Divo is the story of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti’s last couple years in office. He served as such from 72-73, 76-79, and 89-92. This film is so rich in politics and information, that one would assume it would unwatchable if politics did not interest you or if you knew nothing of Italian history. The movie even starts with tons of text on the screen, given you some background in political groups and events, but it’s hard to absorb, and doesn’t exactly tell you everything you need to know. At this point, I was a bit nervous, until the somewhat Tarantino-ish opening began, showing a bunch of political figures being killed to some Italian pop song. Nice. It turns out, that a serious political movie can be funny and a lot of fun, in the right hands.
There is humour throughout the film, and pride taken in making the direction interesting. When we are introduced to Andreotti’s political pals, it does it in slow mo, as they all walk together, kind of like in Kill Bill when Lucy Liu and her people are walking down the hall. It keeps the film interesting, for those who nothing of Italian politics. Those who do have a knowledge of such things will probably be in cinematic heaven. I think there’s serious “favourite movie” potential for some people here.
As one would hope in a bio-pic, the acting is top-notch. Toni Servillo as Anderotti would be a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination if Il Divo was American. He’s subdued and meticulous, crafting one of the more memorable screen performances of recent years. He as at once distant and hard to like, but oozing with an odd charisma, that in certain moments is irresistible. The supporting cast are all perfect. The character who seems to advise Anderotti is the perfect complimentary personality to Anderotti. Instead of being quiet, reserved, mysterious, he is loud and open, and lots of fun. One outstanding moment is when he finally gets a moment to himself inside a giant empty room in Anderotti’s mansion, he takes a run and slides across the floor and yells.
Things like this make Il Divo sublime entertainment as well as unmatched political brain candy. For some, that combo could be the best thing ever, or some may like only one of the two. Either way, there’s no denying that this is masterful film making from Paulo Sorrentino. This is certainly one of the best films of the year, so for anyone who can withstand the political content, it is a must-see.