THE GREAT BEAUTY (Mongrel, 2013) D: Paolo Sorrentino, w/ Toni Servillo, Sabrina Ferilli. Rating: NNNN; Blu-ray package: NNN Rating: NNNN
Best-foreign-language-film Oscar winner The Great Beauty is well worth watching as a visual love letter to Rome. Every shot is lit and composed with a painter's eye, and the people, art and architecture are beautiful.
Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) is the king of Rome's party scene. He knows everyone and is welcome everywhere. He has a wonderful life with friends, lovers and the high-end arts articles he writes for a living.
But things begin to seem a little hollow as he turns 65. People look foolish now, and the art bad. His existential crisis is spurred on by the recurring question of why he never followed up the brilliant novel he wrote 40 years earlier.
Some of this is very funny, but Jep is a kind, philosophical man, and we see everything through his eyes, so the satire of Romans and their culture never turns savage.
Servillo makes Jep likeable and charming, and gives him an easy physical grace.
The extras' on-set footage gives us more of the city and of The Great Beauty's lovely score.
EXTRAS On-set footage, photo gallery. Italian, French audio. English, French subtitles.