Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Jesus Rolls


Everything about this film looks wonderful:
Riding Off Into the Sunset: The Jesus Rolls feels less like an update of Blier’s blithe style and more like the kind of comedic whatsits of Italian directors Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli, Pietro Germi, and Alberto Lattuada. But this isn’t the first time the Italian Turturro has dipped a toe in the sandbox of Italian film: His 2005 musical Romance and Cigarettes has sincere Germi-influenced anarchy in its DNA; his 2010 historical drama Passione is all about the songs and dances found in Naples; he’s adapted a play set in pre-industrial Rome (Illuminata); and he’s acted for Palme d’Or winning Italian director Nanni Moretti among others of his fellow countrymen. 
That cultural affection is all over this film. Turturro manages to make upstate New York look like the Italian countryside, the dance breaks and wine on every table are snagged from a midcentury Italian romp, and the film liberally breathes between the gags. Scenes of Turturro and Cannavale riding innumerable trains to flee police are downright soothing, as is an extended detour at a beach house. This is a movie all about the weird pleasures of hanging out with friends who never say no to sensation, and the only time the fun threatens to come to an end are when they get close to death, which, thanks to the sweet and mournful tone, feels almost welcome.
It may not be the film you want, and there might only be a handful of super heroes in it, but this is the film America needs right now.

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