Thursday, February 6, 2014

Yes, The Great Beauty Is Indeed Beautiful, But...

After sitting through a sold out show of The Great Beauty I quietly exited the theatre and went home. My friend who came to see it with me clearly had nothing to say and neither did I. The movie was pretty much exactly as advertised... very very beautiful. So what discussion did we need?
Well actually, I would really like to talk about it now. The Great Beauty is a very weird movie. It doesn't exactly allow the audience a clear path to its "moral" or purpose. Actually, it tends to weave itself into circles... beautiful circles, but circles none the less. At one point I found myself fighting to understand if an important character had died or was still alive. But it's not about that. It's about the imagery, the amazing locations... and even the not so amazing that can become something more if you look at things differently.
Toni Servillo was exceptional in the leading role. It's obvious, when he first appears, that there is so much more to this guy. And he legitimately carries this movie. Without him all of those beautifully crafted shots, all of that rich history of Rome, could have been simply a slide show, but he brought purpose, life, and depth to the films struggling pacing.
So I find myself wondering what Paolo Sorrentino was thinking as he began writing this story. Sure, he managed to bring something exceptional to life on screen, but it was incredibly convoluted and mostly reminded me that Federico Fellini was from Rome (not at all a bad thing, but...). That being said, Luca Bigazzi should have received an Oscar nomination for his beautiful cinematography... however, this being a foreign film, it seems the Academy overlooked a master.
If you manage to see this Oscar nominated foreign film, try to clear your mind and let it roll over you. That's the only advice I can manage for this one.

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