Rated: R for graphic nudity, some sexuality, and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: December 4, 2015 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Another keen, pitch-perfect comedy-drama from Pablo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty - of a retired Italian sexagenarian pondering his hedonistic ways leading to an absurd grace) is set in a remote luxury Swiss Alps spa centering on a film director and retired composer, lifelong octogenarian chums.
Disparate esteemed acting veterans Michael Caine (who in some scenes resembles his Hannah and Her Sisters director Woody Allen who turned 80 this week) and Harvey Keitel are in fine form in Youth. It examines mortality and age from desire, fear and hope with less plot-centric emphasis as in the cheeky, witty and bright filmmaker's earlier effervescent tale, which here also has a nod to Frederico Fellini.
Caine's renowned English composer, Fred, and Mick, Keitel's respected U.S. auteur aren't really talking too much about the professional troubles in their lives. Mick hasn't had much success brainstorming what could be his last hit shot with some younger scenarists, while Fred is stewing about an envoy of Buckingham Palace (Alex Macqueen) in an offering of knighthood to do his Simple Songs for the Queen, a noted composition for Prince Philip's impending birthday.
Luca Bigazzi's crisp lensing and Cristiano Travaglioli's editing offers much polish and artistry to scenes which have an epicurean sensory aura hardly unfavorable to the eccentricities using Adolf Hitler and a 'heavyweight' past sports figure in its drollery. The physical affronts at their age and once longing and collective search of a distinguished darling often make up a highly convincing and amusing relationship.
The versatile Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) is wryly sapient Jimmy, a movie star, looking to escape a certain genre typecasting, while Paloma Faith (in a pastiche part), Ed Stoppard (son of Tom, University of Edinburgh educated and Mick's visiting son Julien now seeing the aforementioned pop star), and Rachel Weisz (as Fred's disaffected assistant daughter Lena previously dumped by Julien).
Sorrentino has the poise and elegance to let the passion and ambitions on view have an emotional resonance that the cast dutifully engages with idiosyncratic with wit about the unresolved and darkly suppressed even when one reunion doesn't quite swoon into the twilight with the joy of life's unexpected bloom yet to occur.