This film's playful visual language pulls you in rather than shuts you out; it isn't difficult to decipher, and it enables Coppola and his editor, Walter Murch, to navigate the story's many realms with a directness and dexterity that are refreshing.
Francis Ford Coppola is making movies again, and that's reason enough to rejoice. Even if it ends up a baffling intellectual riff, Youth Without Youth still resonates deeply in ways younger filmmakers would never even dare consider.
The movie has been labeled 'stilted,' 'soporific,' and 'a pretentious, meandering mess.' But you certainly couldn't call it conventional, predictable, or pandering. This film is stubbornly, almost insanely, itself.