Struggles with Youth

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Youth.
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Youth.

NOT that there is anything wrong with it, but some movies just scream “arthouse”.

Much like The Lobster earlier this year, in which Colin Farrell had to find a mate before he is turned into an animal of his choice (Huh?), Youth unfolds slower than it takes for paint to dry, has numerous abstract moments and is two hours of people talking.

In these instances, you are either on their wavelength or not.

And while The Lobster’s bizarre plot is best described as bizarre, its pointed observations on being single versus being married had me hooked, while Youth’s story of two old codgers relaxing at a European hotel left me scratching my head.

While retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and his best mate, film director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) are vacationing at a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps, Fred is invited to perform for the Royal family.

He turns down the once in a lifetime offer, but it isn’t until much later in the film the true heartbreaking reason why he refuses this opportunity is revealed.

Meanwhile, Mick and his writers brainstorm their latest script before he is visited by ageing film star Brenda Morel (Jane Fonda) who delivers some harsh truths about his career.

The septuagenarian buddies sit or wander around the grounds, reminiscing and talking about memories, and Caine and Keitel are great to watch, but Youth is tough to get into.

Aside from a couple of key scenes, amusing moments and interesting performances, there is not much here to keep one awake.

The scenery and cinematography is, however, jaw-droppingly stunning and must be seen on a big screen.

From the gorgeous Alps in the background to the shots of two people talking, there is not a single image that does not make your mouth water.

If only these oldies had picked up the pace a little.

THE ESSENTIALS

Youth (M)

Directed by: Paolo Sorrentino

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz

Two and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now