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It’s debatable whether it would be possible to make a film about a politician as tawdry, brash and insincere as former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi without that film sharing at least some of those characteristics. And director Paolo Sorrentino, drawn yet again to the dark sparkle of Italy’s corrupt, wealthy elite, embraces the most unlovely traits of this tacky little man driven by the twin engines of power and vanity. So tight is this embrace that the film at times feels like a VR trip inside Berlusconi’s mind.
And that, perhaps, is part of the reason why this picture feels so markedly inferior to Sorrentino’s other great political opus, Il Divo – about another controversy-dogged Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, inhabited by the unnervingly versatile Toni Servillo, who also plays Berlusconi here
Both Il Divo and Loro are marinated in the personalities of the men they portray. But while Andreotti was an acidic wit with one-liners as sharp as his political brain, Berlusconi, as depicted here, is a self-pitying sleaze with a weakness for pranks, and the showy, synthetic appeal of a breast implant.
Both Il Divo and Loro are vastly ambitious pictures. But in Loro, perhaps because the version released here is an edit that combines two original films, there’s a sloppiness and incoherence in the storytelling. To give Sorrentino credit, he is a consummate stylist, Loro is nothing if not visually arresting. Notable is a hedonistic party scene which manages to be both exhilaratingly over the top but also underscored by a hint of empty futility – the comedown starts even before a rain of candy-coloured ecstasy pills confetti onto the revellers below. Typically punchy music choices offer a bump of energy, but it’s an artificial high akin to the jangling cocaine buzz which passes for a good time.
As everything from The Young Pope to The Great Beauty has shown, Sorrentino is a satirist who thrives in a hermetically enclosed environment sealed off by privilege. But it’s telling that the most affecting moment comes at the end, when the film ventures out from its bubble: a statue of Christ is craned out of an earthquake-ravaged church – a nod to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita – and the tone changes from hyperrealist to neorealist. It’s a profoundly moving scene, this slow pan along the broken faces of the workers. But it feels unearned. Stolen, even. But then again, perhaps that’s the point.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Loro review – Sorrentino’s queasy journey into Berlusconi | Film