Film Review: Youth

Youth

Paolo Sorrentino’s reflections on ageing are beautifully captured in Youth. Performances in the film are great, and the visuals are often captivating.

A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday in a Swiss hotel with his best friend, a film director who is working on his latest script. Fred and Mick reflect upon their own lives, as well as those of the other hotel guests, during their stay…

Youth is a drama with comedy flecks. There is a narrative present, but this is loose enough to allow the film to allow writer and director Paolo Sorrentino to do what he aims to do. Namely, this is to have the older characters reflect on life and the passage of time.

The film concentrates on composer and conductor Fred, and he remains the focal point of Youth. However, Sorrentino does delve into the other characters connected with Fred, weaving different narratives as the film progresses. These strands offer a different stage of life or a different perspective on life, frequently focussing on ageing. Fred is approachable in his apathy. Sorrentino draws the main characters well. Relationships in Youth are definitely believable. There are some interesting segues into more abstract sequences which are a cause for humour. The film is ponderous rather than melancholic, even in more downbeat moments.

The setting of a luxury Swiss hotel works well in Youth. It allows for a variety of characters to flitter in and out of view. It also makes room for some amusing, anecdote-like sequences. Sorrentino moves the narrative on at a glacial pace, offering the audience plenty of time to ponder the dialogue and soak up the imagery.

The production design and sound design are great in Youth. Michael Caine delivers a convincing performance as Fred. He is matched by Harvey Keitel’s turn as Mick. Paul Dano is decent in a supporting role, and Rachel Weisz stands out as Lena. Her monologue on her relationship with her father is fantastically performed.

More of a dialogue than a monologue on life and ageing, Youth is a well directed and well performed piece of cinema.

Previews: Ghostbusters First Look, Batman v Superman and More!

Plenty to gaze upon this week, with the Ghostbusters first look image, posters for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Deadpool, and more…

Ghostbusters First Look

Ghostbusters First Look

Here is the Ghostbusters first look image. Little is known about the plot of the film, but the new Ghostbusters don very similar attire to their predecessors. Directed by Paul Feig and starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Ghostbusters is set to be released in Summer 2016.

Youth Trailer

Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth is a drama about a retired composer staying at a spa. The film features an enviable cast that includes Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda. Youth, which has already gathered awards nominations, will be released in UK cinemas on 29th January 2016.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Poster

Wonder Woman Poster

This is my favourite of the three posters released for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this week (the others were of the title characters). Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman in the upcoming DC film. It will be interesting to see the scope of her role in the film. particularly with the plans for the franchise. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit the big screen in March 2015.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer

Here is the first trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Written by J.K. Rowling, the film focuses on the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released in the UK on 18th November 2016.

Deadpool Poster

Deadpool poster

This latest Deadpool poster continues the tongue-in-cheek marketing we have seen so far. Ryan Reynolds reprises his role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the anti-hero Wade Wilson. Promising to be closer to the edge than have superhero fare, Deadpool bounds on to cinema screens on 4th February 2016.

Star Trek: Beyond Trailer

The first trailer for Star Trek: Beyond was released earlier this week, overall it seems to be harking back to the original series in some places, albeit on a much grander scale. Little is revealed about the plot, but the cast including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are joined by Idris Elba for this instalment. Star Trek: Beyond hits Uk screens on 22nd July 2016.

X-Men: Apocalypse Poster

X-Men Apocalypse Poster

Following the release of the trailer earlier this week, here is a look at a new poster for X-Men: Apocalypse. After the success of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the franchise returns with villain Apocalypse. The trailer suggests the film marries this new series of films with the older one, by looks at least. X-Men: Apocalypse is released in cinemas in May 2016.

Independence Day: Resurgence Trailer

Here is the first full trailer for sequel Independence Day: Resurgence. The sequel sees Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and others reprise their roles from the 1996 blockbuster. With director Roland Emmerich returning to the disaster movie fold, Independence Day: Resurgence will hit UK screens in June 2016.

Film Review: This Must Be the Place

Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place is a funny and poignant drama. An imperfect film, This Must Be the Place is an absorbing endeavour nevertheless.

Cheyenne is a former rock star who now lives with his wife in Ireland. He has a routine existence, seeing the same people and visiting the same places. When he learns his father is ailing, Cheyenne travels to America for the first time in many years. Finding out about his father’s trauma during World War II, Cheyenne embarks on a mission to find his father’s persecutor, now living under an assumed name in the United States…

This Must Be the Place is an interesting character study. The film carefully unwraps the character of Cheyenne; and charts his development through the course of the narrative. The protagonist is interesting from the beginning because of his appearance and mannerisms. What sustains the audience’s attention is watching the character gently evolve as he finds out more about himself and his relationship with others.

There are some great amusing moments in This Must Be the Place, which are greatly complimented by the film’s more poignant episodes. The film does slack a bit in the second half; it could have easily been trimmed down. Nevertheless, Sorrentino’s film is still engaging.

Sean Penn offers a memorable performance as Cheyenne. Penn is engrossing as the aging former rock star, with a performance that steals the viewer’s attention. Good support is provided by Frances McDormand and Judd Hirsch. This Must Be the Place is a little unusual, but well worth the watch.

This Must Be the Place is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.