Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Hand of God

Filippo Scotti stars as the aimless Fabietto in 80s Naples in this coming of age story from Paolo Sorrentino. We're introduced to Fabietto's extended dysfunctional family including his womanizing father (Toni Servillo), prankster mother (Teresa Saponangelo), older brother with dreams of becoming an actor (Marlon Joubert), and lascivious aunt (Luisa Ranieri). The film is beautifully shot by Daria D'Antonio framing our stumbling protagonist disconnected from the world long before tragedy strikes upending his life even more.

Sorrentino doesn't seem to have a destination for Fabietto in mind. Although he grows over the course of the film taking interest in more than football, it's hard to tell how much he's actually learned. The untethered protagonist means the film seems aimless as well, even if that's the point as Fabietto finally discovers he can no longer allow life to pass him by and must start making hard choices.

The Hand of God is notable for some odd antics attempting to flush out the unusual stable of characters that make up Fabietto's family and friends. Among the more memorable moments are multiple scenes of Ranieri as the troubled aunt, who certainly makes an impression on a teenage boy, the pranks his mother pulls on her family and neighbors, an unlikely friendship with a smuggler leading to a chance meeting on a deserted street with the richest man in the world and his bitchy companion, and a bizarre "making of a man" scene involving Fabietto loosing his virginity. While not all the pieces fit together cohesively, the film follows our character on his winding path wherever it may lead, which is often entertaining even if we never seem to get closer to a destination.

Watch the trailer

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