The Great Beauty

I'll write fuller thoughts elsewhere, but honestly, screw this indulgent, high-and-mighty POS, with its utterly empty style undone at every turn by how above it all Sorrentino wants everyone to know he is. Comparisons to Rossellini, Antonioni and Fellini seem to have the most superficial understanding of what those directors brought to their movies, as well as how invested they were in their work (even Antonioni), how willing they were to either implicate themselves in moral failure (Fellini) or to try and show, in vastly differing ways, how to find a new morality and existential position (Rossellini and Antonioni). Even Antonioni's ostensible remove serves to illustrate not the emptiness of the modern world but the inability of characters to recognize its beauty and its new methods of communication; THE GREAT BEAUTY sends its character on a journey to find that beauty, but at every turn it finds modern Italy reprehensible.

This is just the Marshall McLuhan scene of ANNIE HALL stretched to offensive length, with Servillo waltzing up to perfectly set-up targets before excoriating them at length—the scene in which he mercilessly tears apart a pretentious middle-aged Communist is little more than a distended, hyper-misogynistic riff on The Dude's "Walter, you're not even Jewish" from THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Last night, I could have watched this, which I had limited access to, or the copy of THE WORLD'S END I had just bought and thus have at my disposal whenever. I chose poorly; at least with THE WORLD'S END I would have been able to watch flashy camerawork that actually illuminated the interiority of the film's world and characters, instead of the maker's smug superiority. I've only seen IL DIVO besides this, but I'm struggling to think of a more overdetermined, self-satisfied filmmaker working today.