Only a few months after checking out of the weird but quite wonderful hotel featured in ‘The Lobster’ last year, it seems ‘Youth’ would have us all checking into a similarly bizarre hotel, this time in the Swiss Alps. I really knew nothing about the film, it starred Micheal Caine and Harvey Keitel and that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Therefore I really didn’t have any expectations but after watching it I don’t really think any expectations would have properly prepared me for the film.
‘Youth’ was a real enigma of a film. Certainly at first I wondered what I had just spent a ticket on as you’d be forgiven for thinking that this film isn’t just solely about naked people getting spa treatments. The film really struggled in its initial stages for me as I never really saw it coming together, all it was was a collection of wacky characters, moments and settings thrown together with the label ‘Youth’ stuck across it. However, amongst this jumble of craziness I saw some moments of great acting from the cast. The five main characters that the film follows all get their moments to shine thanks to the performances of the very talented cast. Each of them has their time in the spotlight and none of the actors or actresses wastes this time. Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano & Jane Fonda all have the privilege to play such well written characters and they’re brought to life in a great way through their performances. It’s quite impressive that each of these stars has at least one really powerful standout scene in the movie yet it never feels overcrowded and this is even before you consider all the other hotel guests.
I say that ‘Youth’ is an enigma because at times this film honestly bored me so much but literally moments later I was fully engrossed in the story. Very few films have this kind of effect on me. However, by the end of the film I was really enjoying the movie and the moments of boredom were only ever decreasing. I may not have always fully understood what the film was trying to say but I was more than happy to listen to its madness! I was naturally quite interested in Kietel’s and Dano’s characters as they played a filmmaker and an actor, so I always soaked up their dialogue which was drenched in stories and ideas about the industry. Like ‘The Lobster’ this film was quite funny at times, it never treads into the same level of dark comedy that it did but it certainly has its moments and you will get a few laughs out of watching ‘Youth’. The best thing about the film though had to be its use of music. It’s soundtrack was varied and it was given the attention to warrant it being present in the film. It always really enhanced what ever scenes it accompanied and the moments of engrossment which I had previously discussed were always the result of this element.
So whilst at first I was completely baffled as to what I was watching or what the point to anything really was, the film fights off the boredom it first produces and actually ends up being weirdly entertaining. There are a great group of characters here, played by a super cast who help to bring you into the film. The work of the soundtrack only furthers these efforts and by the end of the film you’ll probably feel quite settled even if your not quite sure how everything really comes together. If you enjoy wacky films then ‘Youth’ could really be for you.
Rating – 7/10
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