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l’ill )l’l', lit/3.1,} IL DIVO (15) 117min 0000

With Il Divo, the Italian writer-director Paolo Sorrentino (The Consequences of Love, The Family Friend) has spectacularly reinvented the genre of the political biopic. The subject of this darkly amusing and often exhilarating film is the nonagenarian Giulio Andreotti, one of the great survivors of Italian politics, who became his country‘s prime minister on seven occasions between 1972 and 1992, and who was memorably described by Mrs Thatcher as having a ‘positive aversion to principle‘.

Sorrentino wisely concentrates on a few crucial years in Andeotti's career, beginning with the formation of his last administration in 1991, continuing through the ‘Tangentopoli‘ bribery scandals which swept away his Christian Democrat party, and incorporating the numerous accusations of his collusion with the Mafia in the much earlier murders of journalist Mino Pecorelli and the police chief Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa.

For those not versed in the labyrinthine details of Italian politics, Il Divo might seem a foreboding prospect, yet the incident-packed drama is anchored by Toni Servillo’s minimalist central performance. His migraine- plagued Andreotti is a physically unprepossessing figure, who seems to scuttle through the corridors of power and down Rome‘s deserted nocturnal streets. His pallid features rarely express emotions, and he uses quotations and jokes to avoid revealing his own feelings. Occasionally however, this mask of impenetrability slips Sorrentino reveals how he is haunted by guilty memories of Aldo Moro, his political colleague who was abducted and murdered by the Red Brigades in 1978 after Andreotti had refused to negotiate with the terrorists. And in a chilling monologue the devoutly Christian politician defends the controversial ‘strategy of tension‘ by insisting that, ‘one needs to be evil to defend what‘s good.’

One of Sorrentino’s great strengths is his ability, assisted by his regular cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, to conjure up dream-like universes, and Il Divo doesn’t disappoint with its dynamic tracking shots, its theatrical lighting and its compositions in which individuals are dwarfed by the surrounding architecture. Like Citizen Kane, and more recently, There Will Be Blood, Il Divo respects the fundamental unknowability of its protagonist: the ‘real’ Andreotti remains a mystery. (Tom Dawson)

I (3/7. (3/asgoi: .rr‘d (Arnie; 1. [dith‘liirglt i‘ Ht) '.7.i‘.'.

g :Il‘Afjt. TWO LOVERS (15) 110min 000


(15) 88min .0

Oxerext‘osure can shoot down ex en the most hrorhrsing career And while Mathev. Home and James Corden aren't quite there yet. they need to be careful A double act since their award-Winning Gavin <3 Stacey. for their first big SCreen outing together you can tell they want to be the new Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. But this slapstick Hammer Horror send up IS no Shaun of the Dead.

Dumped and sacked. Our wrtless heroes head Out on a hiking holiday only to end up in a cursed Village besieged by a legion of scantily clad sapphic vamp-res who spend most of the film writhing about in chiffon). Teaming up wrth local Vicar (Paul McGanni they reluctantly set about ending the reign of vampire high priestess Camilla (SIlVla Colloca).

Writers Phil Hupfield and Stewart Williams freely admit the title came first. writing the film to fit. and it shows. The characters are paper thin CIDliBFS. particularly the bevvy of buxom babes ripped straight from the pages of FHM. However, Horne and Corden's endearing bumbling just about pulls LVK from the gutter. Admittedly there are a few good gags but cheap knob jokes and puerile tittering about boobies outweigh them. (Henry Northmore)

I Genera/ release, Fri 20 Mar.

Writer \llrt't‘ttil .Jarnes Gray reunites

.'.:‘.l; l: ~; We Own the ."y'rrrht star

.i' ul' iLii'i l’hrio-nix for this sulitl‘,

.i‘fw tut; l: n-rkey drama. Erratic public tiershrxa l‘t)l'.'.’llli§‘il£lll(Illtg. Phoenix is .-r, good here as Leonard, an

mm itronally damaged tliir'tysomethrng, trill ,. lllléitjffitl by his parents to pursue a relationship Willi Sandra lVinessa Shaun/i. a close family friend who would like nothing more than the opportunity to take care of him. But after leonard encounters his beautiful and profoundly messed up new neighbour Michelle ra top-form (ax-ryneth Paltrowr he is Immediately drawn to her. imagining himself as her f3£l'.|()tli'. hero and lover.

()pening \.‘.’llll a bleak scene that suggests we are in for a turgidly introspective character study, Gray guickly usurps exr')ectation With something much less conventional and more attuned to the absurdities of real life. He looks for the telling details in his actor‘s' performances. and his cast seme him well, With Isabella Rossellini particularly good as Leonard's lovurg and long-Suffering mother. The result is a film that. while occasionally awkward in its tonal shifts, offers a more substantial portrayal of the compleXIties and (,‘(illllilllSIOllS of love in its various forms than the average Hollywood romance iPaui Gallagheri I C-St,>'rerai’ release from Fri 27 Mar.

lHRIUER TRAITOR (12A) 114min 00

Is Don Cheadle a detector to the Islamic fundamentalist cause in this the latest addition to Hollywood's war on terror mOVie Cycle’.> Or is his Sudan-born Muslim, US—bred ex-special ops demolitions expert Samrr Horn still secretly a good guy? You can probably guess the answer long before a ridiculously easy clue IS telegraphr—zri around the half-way mark. just in case the combination of the casting of the Ocean '3 7 I, 72 and 73 star and a blindly obvrous script continues to flummOX audiences.

Mtfall‘fllllle. Guy Pearce's liberal-minded Arab culture expert FBI agent and Said Taghmaoui’s tough-but-tender terrorist middleman attempt to catch up With the clot and work out for themselves who Horn is really working for. As the action shifts from North Africa to the south of France and finally, Via Canada. to America. where the ultimate post-9d 1 attack has been masterminded, the tension is ratcheted up. Except it's not. Despite a mounting body count, it's clear how this handsomely shot. well-acted political thriller Wl“ play out. And despite concerted efforts to present the war on terror from both an Eastern and Western perspectrve. the him still manages to demonise foreigners with dark skin. The only really intriguing thing about Traitor is it was co-written by Steve Martin (yes, that onei. (Miles Fielderi I General release, Fri 27 Mar. l

19 Mar—2 Apr 2009 WI LIST 48