Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Youth': Director Paolo Sorrentino's Magic Is All Smoke and Mirrors

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Youth': Director Paolo Sorrentino's Magic Is All Smoke and Mirrors

Article excerpt

If I had to nominate one director in the world as the most overrated right now, I would go with Paolo Sorrentino, whose egregious, overblown "The Great Beauty" predictably won the Oscar for best foreign film. Now Sorrentino is back on the attack with "Youth," slightly less overblown but no less egregious.

To the extent that it's about anything other than fancy camera moves, it's about Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine), a famous English conductor and composer, resolutely retired, and his longtime friend, Mick (Harvey Keitel), a still-active American movie director. Both are convalescing in a Swiss Alps spa, musing over their lives and loves. It's fun to see these old pros banter and harrumph, and Caine, especially, strikes some plangent chords. (Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and Jane Fonda also turn up, underwhelmingly.)

Performances don't seem to be primary for Sorrentino, though. …

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