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Il Divo (2009)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 4

While the web of corruption in this Italian political thriller can be hard for a non-native to follow, the visuals and the intrigue are compelling and thrilling in equal measure.

95

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 1

While the web of corruption in this Italian political thriller can be hard for a non-native to follow, the visuals and the intrigue are compelling and thrilling in equal measure.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 4,128

My Rating

Movie Info

Award-winning filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (The Family Friend) writes and directs this cinematic portrait of seven-time Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, whose controversial legacy peaked when he was tried for Mafia ties and subsequently acquitted. A leader with close ties to the Vatican, Andreotti was also tried and acquitted for the murder of an Italian journalist, and remains a senator for life. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Paolo Sorrentino

Oct 27, 2009

Music Box Films - Official Site External Icon

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April 23, 2009:
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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (4) | DVD (4)

The film takes flight on the brilliant title performance by Tony Servillo (Gomorrah), who plays Andreotti like a mummified Alec Guinness, as if encased in layers of plaster of Paris.

August 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We may not know the man, but we know the dance, as seen in the highly diverting and hugely controversial Il Divo, a biopic as wly as its subject.

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After I saw Il Divo, I suppose I should have felt indignation. I suppose I should also have felt that way after "The Godfather." But such films present such mesmerizing figures that I simply regard them, astonished.

July 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The enigmatic Andreotti is the perfect subject for a biopic in the European tradition.

June 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All in all, this phenomenal film illustrates Alexis de Tocqueville's observation that "The people get the government they deserve." In both meanings of the word, Il Divo is sensational.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Il Divo joins Matteo Garrone's more expansive, more extraordinary Gomorrah -- which contains an even better performance from Servillo -- as a grim portrait of the trouble with modern Italy.

June 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fascinating history of recent Italian politics.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

... not so much a savage satire as one disenchanted with the institutional corruption of politics.

December 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

... Sorrentino avoids the dreary conventions of the biopic in favor of a cheeky mix of music montages, dramatic re-enactments and hilariously deadpan takes ....

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

Combining clammy skin, busy hands, and a posture reminiscent of Snoopy in his vulture phase, [Servillo] (re-)creates a fascinating monster ... Given some CliffsNotes, the surrounding film might even be worthy of him.

September 2, 2009 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

Inventive and fun... Toni Servillo gives a truly exquisite performance, easily the finest seen on U.S. screens in 2009 thus far.

July 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This is a spectacular film about corruption in high places, specifically as that relates to the political life of Giulio Andreotti, seven times prime minister of Italy and a senator for life.

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

A stunning piece of work that feels both familiar and completely unique at the same time.

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Retriever
Movie Retriever

Servillo does such a good job of suggesting the drive and intelligence of the man that he automatically becomes one of the great recent cinematic symbols of absolute political power and the questionable means utilized in order to achieve it.

July 9, 2009 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Even with no knowledge of Italian government, you can enjoy this hip, un-stodgy, grimly entertaining dissection of it.

July 2, 2009 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

You may not leave the theater with a firmer grasp of Italian politics, but you will leave with an appreciation of some outstanding filmmaking.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

There is sufficient power in the imagery and performances to make Il Divo worth hacking through.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

...we get a in depth look into Italian politics. But, you don't need to be familiar with that country's volatile recent years to enjoy a fine piece of filmmaking.

May 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Should you go into this movie with no knowledge of this slice of history, you'll not only learn something, but you'll be so entertained you may find yourself laughing out loud (when you're not shaking your head).

May 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Il Divo

What an astonishing biopic. Only in Italy, with their rather dubious politics could a film like this be made but Paolo Sorrentino has got some front to openly accuse the former-prime minister and powerful figurehead of some horrendous crimes. This is a good thing though, we need more directors like Sorrentino. Italy is rich with confident filmmakers though, Matteo Garrone took just as many risks directing Gomorrah as Roberto Saviano did writing it. Could they be the next Pier Paolo Pasolini & Federico Fellini? My answer is yes, because not only did they simplify a complicated storeys, they also filmed them beautifully. IL Divo is dripping with Italian style, every frame has been planed meticulously and everyone is like a Edward Hopper painting. The story and visuals slow down slightly in the second half but that is when Toni Servillo's Giulio Andreotti really comes alive, the slightest expression creating suspense, intrigue an genuine excitement. This is an awesome film, Phyllida Lloyd should take note with her upcoming film about the life and career of Margaret Thatcher, although I wont hold my breath, not after Mama Mia anyway.
October 17, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

A brilliant film based on the complex and enigmatic character of Andreotti, and Italy itself. The Italian political scene during the Christian Democrats' reign was rife with clientelism, corruption and terrorism. Servillo's portrait of Andreotti is appropriately ambiguous and opaque. The primary strength of this film is Sorrentino's masterful direction, settings, framing, film composition and montage. Plus, any film that can successfully incorporate Trio's 'da da da' into a soundtrack predominately composed of classical music deserves commendation. Bravo!!!
June 24, 2010
bookmunki

Super Reviewer

Excellent music/sound editing and a deft portrayal by Toni Servillo that is at once comical and sad. Not being at all familiar with Andreotti's reign of terror, I was pretty confused by all the courtroom/arbitration scenes, but I gather that that's kinda what the filmmakers were going for, at least for the non-Italian audience. There are no scenes that directly implicate Andreotti's involvement with the Mafia, and that kinda gels with the film's title, The Divine, as if to say, he was that untouchable. His foes would simply disappear without him having to lift a finger.
February 14, 2010
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

Sorrentino delivers another imaginative, original take on a potentially dry topic. I couldn't claim to understand all the ins and outs of the Italian politics on show, or their veracity, but he pulls you through with his visual invention.
October 18, 2009
gor41
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Il Divo - Der Göttliche (DE)
  • The Deity (Il Divo) (CA)
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