Film review: Youth

Part of a series of reviews for films from the 2016 Kamloops Film Festival

kff-article-logoyouth_doc120.inddIf you’re looking for an action movie, this isn’t the film for you. If you are, however, looking for something to captivate your attention that has drama, comedy and an enthralling storyline, you’re in the right place.

Opening with the soft, melodic notes of Florence and the Machine, music ends up being a powerful theme for the rest of the movie. Youth has a soft buildup, with the main plot following Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel’s characters and a bunch of little side plots that tie into their struggles.

Caine is the star of the show, which isn’t unusual. This time, instead of playing his usual sidekick to the action hero, he plays a retired orchestra director named Fred Ballinger staying at a classy hotel on vacation and struggling to accept his retirement and relationships with those around him. With this role, Caine truly proves that he is one of the most versatile actors around.

The film has an eclectic mix of characters, from a famous Spanish football player who speaks little to no English, a levitating Dalai Lama and Miss Universe, all the way to an actor who walks around in a Hitler costume in order to find his true self. The dynamic characters are what make the film, each character having their own quirks and bonding moments with each other. The film perhaps has a bit too much nudity at times (this isn’t Game of Thrones after all), but the implication behind it carries a sense of freedom and honesty.

With quick witted humour, stunning landscape shots and cinematography similar to The Lobster, Youth portrays the visualization of getting older and captures the essence of being alive from multiple characters’ points of view.

The whole movie feels like watching a dream, some parts more so than others. A little less than halfway through, the film switches to a melodramatic music video by Paloma Faith, which vaguely resembles parts of the Britney Spears Toxic music video.

The film ends on a high note, with each character facing their fears and accepting that there is more out there for them than inevitable existentialism. A beautiful, satisfying movie directed by Paolo Sorrentino, this 124-minute feature is worth a watch for indie film lovers.

With appearances by Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano, Youth holds a high standard for other films to live up to.

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