The decadences and excesses of life in the avant garde and creative community in Europe has a notoriety and interest all its own, but what happens when the king of the realm is looking for something more. "The Great Beauty" starts off with a nice idea but this Euro trashy decadence is more ridiculous then it is actually compelling.
Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo)has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
A gorgeous, visually stunning film that evokes memories of Fredrico Fellini, "The Great Beauty" while overlaying some elements of satire knocking the aristocratic and artistic class down a peg is just a hyper stylized mess of a film.
Writer/Director Paolo Sorrentino simply peppers the screen with decadent and dramatic set piece as we follow our protagonist be incredibly and increasingly bored with it all. It never felt like it was even concerned with developing any kind of coherency leaning far too hard on the beauty people in the beauty city who are looking for some real happiness.
A vacant film is rarely an enjoyable one, and while it had moments of boldness it was so all over the map that you just couldn't connect to it. It's a debauched glance at humanity that wants to marvel its audience with the glitz, but an overt addition of excess is not the same as a story with substance, it's just a manufactured mess with no genuine heart.
Star Toni Servillo served as a decent enough protagonist throughout the entire affair, but while he was somewhat likable, we never really give a damn about what he is going through. It's all just supposed to be abstract and interesting but it never truly tried to make us care, it was a film that just made flashy loud noises and threw pretty pictures and bright colours on to the screen to make us think that it is something important.
I'll freely admit, "The Grand Beauty" is a very unique film to experience because it looks great, but it just doesn't go anywhere...and it needed to. Hard to believe this actually won an Academy Award, I'll never quite understand why
1 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are top notch and the special features include a look behind the scenes, a photo gallery and the theatrical trailer.