30 October 2009 | oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Initial energy dissipates into aimlessness
My brother was in attendance for this one, and we were pretty much in unison in opinion. The first act of Vincere ("Win!") is quite extraordinary. In fact we both had the spine chills for the credits which featured a display of enormous mounted ship cannons.
It's a film about the relationship between Benito Mussolini and Ida Dalser. The first act, where they are actually together, is extraordinary. Mussolini is a power hungry madman, incapable of a non-hyperbolic thought, he quotes Napoleon at will and ravishes Ida in the moonlight of their cavernous apartment. He's the ultimate political opportunist, and Ida falls in love with his pure thuggery, despite his obviously third-rate intellect. I then had a problem for the remainder of the film, because I was expected to sympathise with Ida, whom Mussolini pushes away, even though she is a brute-loving nincompoop.
Despite Giovanna Mezzogiorno's excellent acting as Ida Dalser, it's like Bellochio isn't sure where to take the story, as if life doesn't really fit into his narrative structure. I remembered reading Robert Graves' book Count Belisarius as a teen, which starts off as a stonking good read about the adventures of a general in the Byzantine Empire, but then becomes far to encumbered with an adherence to history, that almost makes the latter part of the experience like reading a textbook, a real chore.
As another reviewer has pointed out, the actor in the movie who plays Mussolini, Filippo Timi, is far more interesting and nuanced than the actual historical figure, and it's simply ridiculous when we see newsreel footage and have to see Mussolini the real man, followed by Timi in the next scene. I have to hand it to Italians that they certainly have a talent for electing verminous cretins to high office that has lasted to this very day. You see the newsreel footage and it's impossible not to titter.
The film in retrospect is simply a misadventure in my opinion.