Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano
Rating: * * * * (out of 5)
Paolo Sorrentino’s last film, Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (a title surely doubling as a career mission statement), was a punch-drunk carnival of opulence, skewering the moral hangover of excess consumption among a group of spoiled, bohemian pseudo-sophisticates. Youth continues in similar vein, but treads a little more carefully and quietly around its aging, more rueful pampered protagonists. The inaction takes place in a hermetic, luxury Swiss mountain spa, where two long-time, eighty-something friends, retired world-famous composer Fred Ballinger (Caine) and veteran filmmaker Mick Boyle (Keitel) are both holed up. As Fred shuns the world, even turning down a request to perform for the Queen of England, Mick toils away with a group of young acolytes to finish one last script and “testament”. In the background, a parade of eccentric fellow guests, including Paul Dano’s Depp-a-like disaffected superstar, a philosophical Miss Universe and a Fellini-esque gallery of spa guests stew in neon-red saunas or steam-filled pools.