Paolo Sorrentino’s terrific Il Divo presents an extraordinarily sinister portrait of Giulio Andreotti, Italy’s most significant politician of the post-war era. Between 1972 and 1992, he faced numerous trials on conspiracy and corruption charges, and always escaped. It begins as a collection of arresting images and concludes two hours later in the same fashion. Throughout the film, the camera loops and dances. There is pop music on the soundtrack, low-impact electronica, and opera, too. The film focuses squarely on the ending of his government service in the 1990s, during and after a seventh term as prime minister. The trial surrounded his alleged involvement in the murder of Mino Pecorelli, a journalist who accused him of Mafia ties and to the kidnapping of Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Toni Servillo gives an intricate portrayal of the man. Assisted by magnificent makeup work, he embodies the bent-eared, hunchback former Prime Minister. His upper body seems to move as a single unit.
In the film, Andreotti is most haunted by the Red Brigades’ murder of the kidnapped of Aldo Moro, which he might have prevented. Sorrentino tags Andreotti as the ultimate power-hungry; in one scene, he explains that the reason he confides in a priest instead of praying directly to God is because priests vote. Il Divo tarnishes his legacy but not clearly, which is probably appropriate for a politician renowned for his opacity.