The Last Paradiso (2021) Review

A visually stunning film, but a slow start and a strange tonal shift in the second half.

Certificate: 15

Director: Rocco Ricciardulli

Screenwriter: Rocco Ricciardulli, Riccardo Scamarcio

Starring: Riccardo Scamarcio, Gaia Bermani Amaral, Valentina Cervi

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Language: Italian

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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During the 1950s in “Italy”, a free and enthusiastic spirit dreams of love, justice and a better life, until a forbidden relationship threatens all of her dreams – inspired by real events. – From IMDB

This film really is a tale of two parts.  The first half of the film we follow the affair between Bianca and Ciccio, a serial philanderer.  He hates his life in his small town and longs to get away and seems to have intentions to take Bianca with him.  The very nature of their relationship, and the dislikeable character of Ciccio himself means that this isn’t really a relationship that audiences can get behind, or feel emotionally invested in and that is the first problem here.  None of the events of the rest of the film are going to mean anything if you don’t care for these characters first.

A shocking moment happens about half way through, which marks the turning point of the film.  Not just narratively, but tonally as well.  It happens so fast, and with so little warning that it is almost jarring.  For me the second half of the film is where I lost interest all together.  I didn’t care about the new characters or their stories or motivations. And while a few of the main players did get what was coming to them, I was bored for most of the second half.

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The films is gorgeous to watch though.  A mostly muted colour palette makes everything look romantic and whimsical, even if the story does really portray that.  And then the starker more realistic colours used in the scenes of Antonio at home or at work, really serve to separate the two lines of narrative.  To me any film set in the Italian countryside is going to be beautiful, it is one of my most favourite places in the world.  But it is a shame that the story could keep me as enraptured as the scenery.

All the acting is competent, though I never really bought any of the relationships between ay of the characters, least of all between Bianca and Ciccio.  Their interactions lacked the passion and intensity that the script was trying to get across to the audience, even the sex scene was underwhelming and lacking in passion of any kind.

This is one that I recommend you skip this month.

‘The Last Paradiso’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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