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Il Divo (DVD Review)

17 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Il Divo

Street 10/27/09
Box Office $0.2 million
$27.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.
In Italian with English subtitles.
Stars Toni Servillo.

To the casual observer, Italian politics can appear to be chaotic cacophony practiced by old men (and some women) endlessly locked in a power play of shifting alliances.

Critically acclaimed Il Divo offers a stylistic, multidecade look into the tumultuous political career of venerable Italian politician Giulio Andreotti, who has managed to endure to this day (at age 90), despite endless trials, accusations of corruption, bribery, murder and ties to organized crime.

Italian stage veteran Toni Servillo convincingly pulls off the Christian Democrat’s noted hunched shoulders, sardonic aphorisms, staccato delivery, stiff neck and Peter Bogdanovich-type eyeglasses. For his efforts, he was honored as Europe’s top actor in 2008.

With the occasional Helmut Newton-like visual (alas, no nudity), slow-motion scenes and disturbing blood-soaked Mafioso violence, director Paolo Sorrentino captures the visual essence of Italy’s combustible political back-room dealings made famous in more consumer-friendly films such as The Godfather and Gangs of New York, from directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, respectively.

For the average viewer not well-versed in Italian politics, Il Divo is a portrait of an immensely flawed character whose desire to be remembered as culturally relevant instead of coldly indifferent remains a work in progress.

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