Regret is something that will never leave us. People say “I have no regrets”, but we all know that is just a load of bollocks.
Life is full of wonder, love, passion, and most of all, regrets. A longing to right the wrongs of our past, the longing to remember what we did so long ago, and the longing to live a life that is meaningful. Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth captured this beautifully.
Youth is 2015’s first real masterpiece, each frame brimming with pure cinema, each song meaningful and kinetic, and each actor delivering transcendent performances.
It was more than a treat to witness Paolo Sorrentino’s masterful direction and to see how far he’s come since, “The Great Beauty.” I knew this film was going to be for me the moment the first frame appeared. It was a woman singing a more than worthy cover of my favorite band, “Florence and the Machine”.
The camera was swinging yet steady, giving a visceral thrill that put a huge smile on my face. I was transported to a world that seem so real and sumptuous at the same time. When the main players are introduced, right away you can tell they all have baggage and stories to tell.
Michael Caine plays a variation of a character from Sorrentino’s previous film, The Great Beauty, and he rises to the challenge.
Not once did I feel like I was watching a typical Michael Caine performance. He is a Maestro. He is a father. He is a legend.
I felt like I was watching a decaying Da Vinci painting because I could see all the passion, style, understanding of something that had been weathered by time.
However, he had a fantastic screen partner to help show off his craft. Caine’s partner in crime throughout the picture is Harvey Keitel, who delivers his best work in years.
I related to Keitel’s character on so many levels, not because I wanted to, but because I related to the feeling of being so vulnerable. He’s a believer, a man of doubts, and a man of such regret trying to do one last great thing before he goes.
At times his views on the world seem a little cliche but they are delivered and filmed with such confidence that it feels new. You couldn’t ask for better guides through the beautiful Swiss scenery.
The supporting cast here is also fleshed out, which adds a nice layer of humanity to the picturesque film.
Rachel Wiesz is simply stunning as Caine’s daughter, whose going through an emotional time that weighs heavy on the two leads. However, she goes through a nice character arc that is a pleasure to watch.
The last big supporting role in the film is played by Paul Dano, who gives his best performance since, “There Will Be Blood.”
He’s arrogant, over his head, silent, and best of all, human. I don’t want to give too much away , but just wait and see what he does towards the end of the film. It’s sad, shocking, and a little bit funny.
I’m going to end this review with a nod to the amazing Cinematography from Luca Bigazzi. He and Sorrentino capture the absurd, the subtle, and the beauty of the film so many times that I lost count after 30 minutes in the film.
There’s a scene with Michael Caine “conducting” a score with the sounds of the country side and it’s a treat on all senses. The greens, the framing, the lighting, the movements, are a must see for all aspiring filmmakers and cinematographers.
If you are a lover of pure cinema, you owe it to yourself to watch Youth.
If you don’t, you might regret it.
★★★★★ Masterpiece. The year’s best so far
Opens December 4 2015 in North America
Images provided via Fox Searchlight