Criticism: Criticism of The “New Pope” series from Paolo Sorrentino with John Malkovich and Jude Law (Fox Premium / Fox Play)


In 2016, the winner of the Oscar for La grande bellezza premiered 10 episodes The Young Pope. A little over three years later came this sequel that finds the Lenny Belardo Jude Law in a coma and on the Sir John Brannox of John Malkovich assuming as Supreme Pontiff. The result of this second installment is a little less stimulating, but the irruptions of great this provocative artist and creative that is Sorrentino turn this new series into an experience valuable and rewarding.

The New Pope (Italy-France-Spain-USA-United Kingdom/2019). Direction: Paolo Sorrentino
Script: Stefano Encores, Umberto Contarello and Paolo Sorrentino. Cast: Jude Law, John Malkovich, Silvio Orlando, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara and Ludivine Sagnier. Photography: Luca Bigazzi. Music: Lele Marchitelli. Edit: Christian Travaglioli. Duration: 9 episodes of around an hour each. Airs on Fox Premium Series (and in live streaming on Fox Play).

One might begin this analysis by stating that The New Pope holds the same universe and handles similar proposals in the tragicomic, the narrative, the visual and the musical to the of The Young Priest and, in that sense, the ability of surprise, fascination and charm are no longer the same. And some of that is because this sequel is, in effect, a little more (or a little less) of the same. But -at the same time – are maintained in these 9 episodes a ease, a daring, a blackness, a talent formal and a hierarchy of aesthetics and performance is the comparison odious with his predecessor loses a bit of sense. The New Pope has life, entity, and flight own.

The director of films such as The consequences of love, The family friend, Il divo, This Must Be the Place, La grande bellezza, Youth and Parrot starts with this sequel where he finished the original series: Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) in a coma and undergoing a transplant coronary (the heart is an egyptian muslim). The machiavellian cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando) manages not to be chosen as the new Pope, but manipulates the election so that an apparent rag doll, Tommaso Viglietti (Marcello Romolo), is proclaimed. Just assume, this supposedly docile pontiff -with something of the Francis/Bergoglio – becomes a despot and intend to dispose of the riches of the Vatican. A few minutes is removed. And then -in the second chapter – which appears Sir John Brannox (John Malkovich), who becomes himself in a Pope more moderate, durable and reliable.

Sorrentino manages his usual palette of perversions, nudity, elements of dream and fantasy, the musical kitsch, ridiculeces and arbitrariness with more serious issues tied to politics and international terrorism. In the middle of that pendulum between realism and the absurd is allows games film buffs (in the episode 3 Brannox appears seeing a projection in the film I Seek my destiny / Easy Ryder and expressing your love for that generation of the Henry Fonda and Dennis Hopper) or genius as of the beginning of chapter 4 when breaks nothing less than Marilyn Manson to give recommendations to the Pope or the 5 (visit Sharon Stone).

Spot (though with chapters such notables as the 7), a little derivative and elongated (9 episodes could have been summed up with a few less), The New Pope is far from a perfect series, and misses a larger presence (not to do spoilers) Jude Law. But just what spasmodic, as bewildering, as irritating and fascinating are the essence, the raison d’être of the universe of Sorrentino. Those who expect a classic series, solid and demagogic best to look for other directions.

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