That fact that this series is so literate (occasionally too much so for its own good) is down to Sorrentino and his associates but the fact that it's so literary and surreal-gothic is down to the fact that the script borrows quite freely (and shamelessly given the lack of credit) from "Hadrian the Seventh", an obscure early 20th c. novel written by an ultra-Catholic English eccentric named Frederick Rolfe.
A bejewelled Rococo bore stretching Sorrentino’s tendency for surreal scene-blocking over coherence of narrative into an epic of halting, disjointed visual caprice. Yes it’s visually assured but the more interesting elements of reactionary religious belief drown in heavy welters of portentously misplaced musical cues, an even heavier backstory and piles of Vatican intrigue the like we’ve seen before.
Starts off really well in the first five episodes: a fascinating protagonist expertly played by Jude Law, amazing directing, a captivating soundtrack, set design, good writing and some purely cinematographic moments. But the series loose some focus after that and it really goes downhill from there and it does disappoint. The whole thing feels messy and incoherent as a whole series. That LMFAO (yes) scene though.
Ambitious television to be sure and Jude Law is great (why No Emmy nomination?) but I am conflicted by the overwhelming fact that this complex character deserves a 2nd draft in the screenplay dept. regarding what emerges storywise (especially in the last few episodes).Satisfying overall but it feels unfocused in the middle and Diane Keaton's part was underused although she was great given what she had to work with.
This is cinema on highest level! Terrific, wonderful cast, without exception. Stunning camera. Exquisite set-up with enormous attention to detail. The story & storytelling is fabulous. Masterfully directed. Never boring, always entertaining; a delight. Paolo Sorrentino & Jude Law are an awesome combination. Masterpiece. I love it.
July 4: I haven't finished it yet, but everything else I do apart from watching these series is done with the thought of finally going back to it. Not mentioning, that on finishing each episode I want to rewatch it until I no longer like it (which is practically impossible for a Sorrentino film). July 5: I believe films, books, paintings and other forms of art have to have love as their basis (this one does).
This should give you an idea of what the Catholic Church was like at various points in history. The most unfortunate aspect of this evil pope is his power to work miracles, as if God was approving his behavior. It's a good illustration of "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." I realize it's a provocation, but I have no interest in seeing him again.