Viva la libertÓ Reviews
If "Viva la Liberta" had just stopped with Toni Servillo's tremendous dual performance and its plot about doppelgangers in politics, I would gladly understand the complaints about this movie's lack of originality. But luckily it does not stop there, as the movie is also interested in carefully exploring mental illness and the world of make believe, not only in the deception at the heart of the movie, but also the world of movies, as Enrico takes the time for once to consider an alternate path for him and his brother, along with maybe one for the left in Italy.
Over a pleasantly paced 90-odd minutes, the lighthearted story neatly unfolds and is never less than entertaining. Occasionally dipping into the farcical, overall it's more of a gently playful drama that studies Enrico and Giovanni on a broadly personal level. Although set in the notoriously shady world of Italian politics this is far from a hardline assassination of the state of the nation and more of a subtle dig at their - and indeed all - failing democratic systems. The triumph of Giovanni's philosophical passion and sense of beauty is a heartening thing to behold - and possibly the most outlandish thing in Viva La LibertÓ. Seeing the whimsical madman stand up and dare to have an opinion in the way politicians are terrified of is the film's real charm.
It's not quite as successful at getting under the skin of the brothers, feeling perhaps a little too engineered, relying on the wistful melancholy of Servillo's Enrico to hint at greater depth. Nevertheless the surface jaunt through their lives is handled with an astute sharp focus and buoyancy every bit as enticing and passingly provocative as you'd hope. Ultimately though this is a film about Tony Servillo (both of them) and two remarkably diverse performances which capture the personalities of the wildly different men in the minutiae of mannerism and speech. Even with their backs turned you're able to get enough sense of their character to tell them apart. He is absolutely sensational, setting the film's tone and leading it with a magnetic two-faced presence. To extend the chance of seeing him go to work with such spirit and verve, Viva La LibertÓ deserves to land a wider release.