Youth, film review: ‘Ambling and reflective’

10:58 01 February 2016

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Youth. Picture: Gianni Fiorito

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Youth. Picture: Gianni Fiorito

GIANNI FIORITO

Michael Caine is majestic in this somewhat half-formed ponderance on old age, writes Michael Joyce.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino 
Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Alex Macqueen and Jane Fonda 
Film Length: 118 mins

Youth, a film about ageing, is all about its incongruities. It has an international cast that seem deliberately mismatched. Caine and Keitel play best friends. There is an extraordinarily obese man who looks like Maradona, but isn’t; and an ageing actress who doesn’t resemble Jane Fonda, but is. Sorrentino dumps all these elements in a luxury Swiss spa hotel and has them circle around the issues of life, love and forgetting. It is rambling and indulgent: a Fellini film but without a Fellini cast.

Sorrentino’s follow up to The Great Beauty has a great musical score, humour, and strong performances, especially from Caine – 82-years-old and as majestic and commanding a screen presence as ever. It also has all the hallmarks of the one made after the masterpiece; the novel that comes after the Booker win or the film made after the Oscar. It’s the one where the genius gets to relax and treat himself; the one where he doesn’t see why he should follow the conventions of the lesser talents. Caine and Keitel are two artists – composer and film director respectively – who have run out of steam, and the film has a similar lethargy. It is beautifully shot and visually inventive but at a walking pace. The characters sit around and talk about life and there is the sense that whatever half-formed idea comes out is relevant and weighty.

Sorrentino is only in his mid 40s – it’s a little early to get this ambling and reflective. In his late 30s he was making Il Divo, a film with such unrelenting energy and vigorous visual control it was a little airless. Youth is all bracing fresh country air and space to breathe.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

10:00
The Hall school  triathlon team

A team of 40 mothers and staff from The Hall School, in Hampstead, are running the Blenheim Triathlon on June 4 to raise money for a Swiss Cottage youth project.

09:16
The man was stabbed in Camden High Street near Greenland Street

A murder investigation has been launched after a man in his 30s died after being stabbed on Camden High Street in the early hours this morning.

Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

A renowned architect fears the historic library will be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub, rather than adapted for greater disability access

09:00
Dark wood furniture makes a statement in a room decorated in neutral shades, and John Lewis’ free-standing Bali range is brilliant value and good-looking: Tallboy, £195, and Mirrored Double Wall Cabinet, £95. Its roomy Two Tone Laundry Basket, £69, could be perfect for towels or laundry. PA Photo/Handout

Are you living the bathroom dream? The ultimate space for a wash-and-brush-up should also double up as a spoiling home-spa for relaxing – and your room is sadly lacking if it’s not offering both.

Yesterday, 09:00
Alan Titchmarsh, who is spearheading the Butterfly Conservation's Plant Pots for Pollinators campaign. PA Photo/Butterfly Conservation

In his Hampshire garden, green-fingered guru Alan Titchmarsh has swathes of butterfly and bee-friendly plants – from buddleia and verbena to catmint, cosmos and coneflower.

Fri, 20:11
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Fri, 17:00
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in THE NICE GUYS. Picture: Daniel McFadden

Shane Black has had his ups and downs in Hollywood – going from a million dollar screenwriter (Lethal Weapon) in the ‘80s to being largely ignored in the ‘90s.

Fri, 12:58
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe