Vincere (2009)

4.0 out of 5

Drenched in grandeur, baroque style, and flamboyant moments of theatrical overkill, maybe a one-word synopsis for Marco Bellochio's bio-pic of Benito Mussolini's crazed mistress and her abandoned baby Benito would be a simple "sweeping". Italy's finest actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno swings for the bleachers, knocking every Meryl Streep and Hillary Swank out of the park, with only Cate Blanchett presenting any serious Anglo competition to taking on this role. Plenty of lush cinematography may mimic the finest in music video direction, but there's so much wrenching gut and heart to Mezzogiorno's portrait of not only a betrayed woman, but a betrayed Italian woman, it's negligible. Ma dai, che brutta. A perfect example of how ignorant the Academy Awards organization is when it overlooks their foreign film prospects. Movie picked up heaps of praise in other countries, and other planets in the solar system, but America was too busy either searching for the next Full Monty - Part II The Beginning, or a convenient Holocaust movie.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics