I’ve heard several American viewers complain that this film is all
style over substance. I couldn’t disagree more.
I think that if a viewer is familiar with Italian Political History
then this film comes off as absolutely breathtaking, and not just for
its amazing filmic style. For one, the performances and interpretations
of these real characters are spot on and for another the intelligence
and courage to which the script approaches the ethical implications of
Il Divo’s actions, the breadth of moral exploration, how he defends
himself to himself, to others and, often, directly to the viewer, is a
welcomed shock and dose of complexity to the often polemic and
overly-reductive discourse in Italian politics (not much different than
here in the States in that regard). Lastly, for Italians, these events
resonate incredibly and speak very much to the current power base in
Italy. I truly feel that a lot of Americans are watching this film with
cultural blinders on.
I won’t lie, it is definitely designed for people that already have a
strong grasp of the history. It doesn’t weigh itself down with long
explanations and exposition (except in text at the beginning and end of
the film) so if you’re coming to this to learn every sordid detail
about its subject, or for a plot, even, then you might not find much
reward in it. But as an exercise in unpacking a very complicated
subject with real style, it’s amazing!