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Il Divo
DVD disk
11.05.2009 By: Chris Bumbray
Il Divo order
Director:
Paolo Sorrentino

Actors:
Toni Servillo

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The downfall of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who, after being elected prime minister seven times over a period of twenty years- was alleged to have deep ties to the Mafia, and to have ordered a string of high-profile assassinations.

IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I first saw IL DIVO at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal, and I was not overly enthusiastic about it. The problem was that it presumed a certain familiarity with the Italian Political scene of the eighties and nineties, which, I'm sure, was fine with Italian audiences- but left me feeling out of the loop.

However, when I received this DVD in the mail, I decided to give the film another chance, but first- I did a little research into Andreotti's life. Turns out, that made all the difference, as I truly enjoyed IL DIVO this time around.

For one thing, Andreotti's story is utterly fascinating. Toni Servillo (who was also in the similarly themed GOMORRAH) is fantastic in the lead role, and watching some historical footage of Andreotti- I was impressed to see how closely he managed to embody this Machiavellian politician.

However, the true star here has to be director Paolo Sorrentino, who managed to make a film that's essentially two hours of older men talking in rooms play out like an action film, thanks to some wicked visual tricks, and razorsharp editing. I was particularly impressed by Sorrentino's use of music, especially during the bravura opening montage of assassinations- although I'm sure it was more than a little inspired by the famous 'Layla' montage in GOODFELLAS. STill, it gets the film off to an incredible start, and from there the pace never lets off- although at times I felt like pausing it so I could do a little more research in order to understand exactly what was going on.

THE EXTRAS
IL DIVO, while lacking a commentary track, nonetheless boasts a solid group of special features.

First, we get a solid making of , lasting just over thirty minutes, with lots of attention devoted to the historical background, and the makeup involved in Servillo's transformation into Andreotti.

Next up, there’s an FX reel showing off some of the invisible CGI used in some of the shots. Finally we get about ten minutes of deleted scenes most of which were wisely cut, as they would have ruined the pace- with the film as it stands, running a surprisingly brisk 110 minutes.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
IL DIVO is a fascinating look at the Italian political scene of the early nineties, and makes for solid viewing, although I suggest a quick Wikipedia search of Giulio Andreotti beforehand, if, like me- you're not already familiar with his story. While entertaining, it's not an entirely user friendly film, and you'll get more out of it if you do a little quick homework beforehand.

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