One Man Up

One Man Up


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Two men's lives in one movie, yet even together they're not big enough to fill it.

Antonio Pisapia (Tony Servillo) - we'll call him A1 - is an ageing crooner and lothario. He sings to a decent crowd and gets his end away after the encore, frequently with girls younger than his daughter. One night he's caught at it with a minor and finds himself all washed up with nowhere to go. Also, there is a strange, incomprehensible plotline about his brother. And fish. Lots of fish.

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Antonio Pisapia (Andrea Renzi) - we'll call him A2 - shares A1's birthday, but is 10 years younger. He's a football player at the top of his game, with a few good years left in him. He's planning ahead and, thanks to a promise from his club president, he thinks he's a dead cert to get a coaching job with the club. An untimely injury sees him hanging up his boots sooner than expected, as he watches his dreams curdle like milk. Plus he has strange, incomprehensible dreams about ballet dancers.

Their lives are in parallel. We watch as A1 becomes increasingly coked up and desperate, while A2 closes in on himself. The problem is, we don't really care. A1's general unpleasantness deflects any sympathy we might feel for him, while A2 is more engaging, although too much of his life is left unexplained.

There is incongruity in Paolo Sorrentino's screenplay. One minute we're watching a slice of gritty drama, the next being treated to dream sequences that stick out like jelly beans on a wedding cake. He seems to be reaching for allegory, but only succeeds in grasping pretension. Equally, the dual plotline never really works. There isn't enough happening in either man's life and the parallels are too obvious.

It's a shame, since Renzi and Servillo put in very creditable performances, although good acting cannot overcome a dull and confusing plot.

In the final equation, A1+A2 doesn't add up to much.

Reviewed on: 18 Nov 2006
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One Man Up packshot
Two men live parallel lives which are spiralling into despair.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino

Starring: Toni Servillo, Andrea Renzi, Nello Mascia, Antonio Bruschetta, Angela Goodwin, Enrica Rosso, Peppe Lanzetta

Year: 2001

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: |taly


Italian 2006

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