Il Divo (15)

Written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Screening at FACT from 20th March 2009

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

One of the most baffling aspects in relation to this extraordinary film - which won the Prix du Jury at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival - is how such an uncharismatic and corruption-tinged individual such as Giulio Andreotti could be elected three times as Prime Minister in Italy between 1972 and 1992.

Brilliantly portrayed by Tony Servillo, under the masterly direction of Paolo Sorrentino (The Consequences Of Love, The Family Friend) Andreotti, with his hunched shoulders, deadpan features and pallid complexion (almost like someone from George Romero's Living Dead movie), somehow exudes authority over a disparate group of politicians and leading mafia figures.

The film is sometimes in danger of information overload because of too many characters - the majority of them cronies of Andreotti - but the sheer mesmerising camerawork and compelling soundtrack (including Beth Orton, Sibelius, Fauré and helpings of electro pop) makes this a very watchable film.

What is remarkable about the screenplay is how Sorrentino has managed to avoid any libel action being taken against him by Andreottti. There are clear implications about his duplicity in the murders of leading politicians and bankers, with the most audacious suggestion that he exchanged kisses with the notorious Cosa Nostra boss Totò Riina.

His unwillingness not to confront the truth of his actions - it is almost as if it is someone outside of himself who has committed so many heinous crimes - is perfectly illustrated when he tears out a page from a crime novel he is reading, declaring that the killer was about to be uncovered. "I never want to know." Those five words aptly sums up the man.

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