Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel have great chemistry in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth
Paolo Sorrentino’s follow-up to his widely and vociferously acclaimed The Great Beauty is a similarly odd fish to that 2014 Academy Award winner. A surreal look at mortality, and the frustrations of artistic integrity, love and longing, what bewitches is the cool exactitude of the imagery, and the desert-dry drollery of the tremendous cast Sorrentino has assembled. It’s an approach that evokes a slightly more accessible and full-blooded Roy Andersson, as one strange, beautiful scene follows another.
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel have great chemistry as the best pals – a master composer and filmmaker, respectively – holed up in a swanky Swiss sanatorium pontificating on both the great dramas and banalities of their well-worn lives. It’s all terribly arch and mannered, but Sorrentino throws broad philosophical quandaries and quirky ephemera at the screen with equal care and, even though the whole thing threatens to become a bit too omphalosceptic for its own good in a tête-à-tête between Keitel and a cameoing star late on, it’s difficult to resist that sparkling wit and glorious aesthetic design.