Based on no real events, the story of Loro is cobbled together from news stories to make a probable or inventive tale of Italy in the years 2006 and 2010. It’s aim is to illustrate a side of the country and its people – their ambitions, loves, hopes – who swarm to be in the warm glow that is Silvio Berlusconi (Tony Servillo, above right).
For the next 2.5 hours, the viewer goes on a disjointed and psychedelic ride through supposition to meet a myriad of characters; trying to find the narrative structure takes time. From the beginning, you’re thrown into such a frenetic pace that you can barely decipher what happens given the whiplash dialogue and subtitles that flash up far too quickly.
But here’s what was gleaned: pimp Sergio (Riccardo Scamarcio, above) wants to diversify and expand his business projects. He believes a shortcut to this success would be to get within reach of Silvio Berlusconi’s inner sanctum.
Getting his attention is no easy feat. Buying in to the hype around the Prime Minister that he loves nothing more than beautiful women, Sergio sets about gathering the required props. A villa is rented right next to Berlusconi’s on the island of Sardinia (in fact, the filmmakers were given permission to film in his actual villa) to hold a party like nothing before seen. The villa writhes with half-naked bodies, loud music and drugs on tap, as they shimmy in a hallucinogenic haze to draw him out.
Berlusconi is a no show. He’s too busy trying to appeal to his wife Veronica’s
(Elena Sofia Ricci, below) – who has suffered years of infidelity – compassionate side. The ex-PM is also preparing to re-enter Italian parliament for a second term. The final third act of the film sees Sergio finally breach Berlusconi’s world, but what he finds is a man who exhibits none of the tendencies for the vices of the past.
Servillo fills the role well, giving Berlusconi a spectrum of emotion, from menacing to even vulnerability and humour. It takes too long for him to get on screen however. With Loro, Sorrentino makes no judgements but wants to understand a mystery. It’s an overly long mystery that feels self indulgent.
2 stars (MA 15+)
Loro opens nationally on 17 January 2019.
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Story by Paolo Sorrentino
Written by Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Tony Servillo, Elena Sofia Ricci, Riccardo Scamarcio