by | Dec 8, 2015 | 0 comments

A Great Art Film that Might Be a Little Too Abstract for Most People


Art house films are not for the general audience. They tend to be slow moving and a bit too abstract for most people to understand. However, there has to be a balance, as in all things. Paolo Sorrentino’s newest film Youth is as artsy as films get, however it might lose itself too much trying to be unique and it forgets what story it was trying to tell in the first place.

Youth is the story of two old friends who are in a Swiss resort in the mountains. Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a retired English composer who spends his time rejecting tributes and hommages through his daughter Lena, (Rachel Weisz) who acts as his assistant. Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) is a director in search for and ending for next and final film, which he calls his “testament.” Then there is also Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) who is an actor trying to escape the shadow of his blockbuster character: Q, a robot. The film explores the interaction of the different artistic worlds and also how we sometimes are too blunt or too blind with our loved ones.

Being such a deep and artistic film there are infinite messages and ways to interpret this story. The characters all seem very real, and their interactions are enjoyable to watch, but only for so long. After a while the film does grow a bit cumbersome and redundant; thankfully Sorrentino doesn’t let this deceleration last too long, so that it ends up being simply anecdotal; and the ending is satisfying enough, if not a bit too neat.

The movie is filmed in such a way that it feels like a painting that caught your eye at a museum, and has you staring at it for hours. It has such exquisite touch, that every scene could be framed and put up in exhibit. The actors themselves pull off a great variety of performances; Caine gives us one of his most reserved rolls since his pre-Nolan years, his restraint to the verge of explosion contrasts a lot with Sorrentino’s extravagance onscreen. Keitel, meanwhile, gives us an agonizing artist blinding himself to be happy, it is a flashier role and certainly a much more emotional one, and with it he gives us one of his best performances in years. Rachel Weisz is the only rational and seemingly normal person in the film, and it helps us latch on to sanity through so many fireworks. The only problem I had was with Paul Dano’s Jimmy. Dano simply seemed to be in the movie just for the sake of it. We don’t really delve into his story, and he doesn’t really motivate or change any other character’s journey; if you simply cut him out entirely from the film, you might even have avoided that slow third act.

In the end this is an incredibly well made film, but in terms of enjoyment it might be a bit too far off for most people. To enjoy these kinds of films one has to have the proper mindset going in, in short (and without meaning any disrespect), it’s film aimed at intellectuals. 





Visual Aesthetic



What is your favorite intellectual movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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