There are very few, if any, directors working in European cinema today who can hold a torch to Paolo Sorrentino when it comes to exuberance, glamour and style. The Great Beauty and Youth both demonstrated what an eye the Italian has for flair and the big set-piece. The Young Pope illustrated his unique vision for portraying a life through the glare of a lens. In his new film, Loro, he combines the two to create a colourful portrait of one of his most flamboyant and controversial countrymen.
Sergio Morra (Riccardo Scamarcio) is a young businessman with an eye for beautiful woman and a nose for scenting profit. He uses an escort racket to bribe local officials but he’s looking to hook a much bigger fish. His sights are set on Silvio Berlusconi (Toni Servillo), the former president of Italy and millionaire mogul who has retreated to his villa in Sardinia with his wife (Elena Sofia Ricci). Sergio rents the adjoining property and throws a party that Berlusconi cannot ignore.
Loro is a damning indictment of the corruption, hypocrisy, vice and moral degradation within upper-class Italian society. Whilst Berlusconi might be the proverbial guy for Sorrentino’s conflagration, he is merely a representation of a broken country. It’s a literal case of us and them. Whilst he revels in the debauchery, Loro never feels exploitative or crass. Indeed, it’s so sumptuously filmed it feels at times like one huge advert for a really expensive perfume or the most lavish music video in history. A grotesquely opulent critique of a rotten and fetid society.
Loro is out in cinemas and On Demand on 19 April.