The remarkably broad spectrum in which iconic governmental figures have been portrayed in film over the decades has ranged from the personal and intimate, right up to their overall political impact; their ultimate power. However, be they controversial, revered, or downright despised, the ways in which a national leader's life as a whole can be dramatised often seem to be frustrated at the final hurdle; creating a genuinely engaging piece of film. Somehow, against the odds, Il Divo manages to span all fronts of Giulio Andreotti's complex character with style and dexterity to spare.
At once terrifying, brutal and cold, Sorrentino's epic tale of sanctioned corruption and death on the Italian peninsula also projects an odd charm, a twisted brand of 'silliness' that magnificently contrasts the chillingly serious accusations of a man seemingly torn by his own power - his darker side never admitting fault to his own conscience. How refreshing it is too to see a cinematic representation of a modern leader that blends up its overly-administrative subject matter with a little pinch of salt, and a little bit of surreal humour. Memorable moments involving senators sliding around on marble floors, dancing to samba bands and spending their waking lives desperately trying to stop a migraine pill from leaving the pharmaceutical codex are slotted between confessions from Giulio such as 'We must love God greatly to understand how necessary evil is for good', and 'I've always had a weakness for ice cream'.
Of course, a film with the ever-enigmatic Andreotti as the protagonist inevitably leads to the story floating through occasional phases of ludicrously dense, high-speed dialogue, magniloquently focused on 'who met who?', 'who accused who?', and 'who murdered who?', but Sorrentino blasts through these patches by making sure every single edit introduces a shot more breathtaking than the last. Clearly a man with a truly gifted eye for aesthetics, the film comes together to perfectly demonstrate the surely gargantuan effort put into every scene. Il Divo is a truly beautiful movie.
Throughout, there are many titles, subtitles, and the odd line of dialogue that are not translated due to the express-train speed of the film, and as a result the film feels impenetrably, almost exclusively Italian at times, but even this is insufficient to stop the unstoppable force, the almighty power of Il Divo, certifiably one of the great political films of the modern era.