Watched: 8 January

I felt a sense of relief while watching this film as my initial fears that I’d be spending 100 minutes in the company of an insufferable prick of a character soon faded. That’s pretty much how Toni Servillo’s former broker Titta – a man who has been an aloof resident of a Lugano hotel for an entire decade – comes across at first, but gradually director Paolo Sorrentino casts light upon his history, and by doing so slowly reveals a more sympathetic, complicated and tragic figure, and a man with a noble, decent streak (though still not without some flaws). I won’t divulge any more of Titta’s story as I think part of the thrill of watching this film relates to its peculiar twists and turns, though there’s plenty to admire beyond the plot: it’s also an incredibly stylish visual work, for example, given to sudden lurid, neon-heavy sequences which pulsate with a resounding electronic score. DP Luca Bigazzi, who has enjoyed as fruitful a partnership with Sorrentino as star Servillo, incorporates plenty of camera movement – from rotating flips of the camera to slow-pan tracking shots – which adds to the technical splendour. Well worth seeking out if you haven’t seen it. (****)