The Last Paradiso (L’ultimo paradiso) is a drama movie directed by Rocco Ricciardulli and stars Riccardo Scamarcio, Gaia Bermani Amaral, Valentina Cervi and Antonio Gerardi in lead roles.
What do you do when the character that you’re forced to follow for half of a movie’s runtime is a total a-hole? Do you tear your hair out and run away? Or do you rage and sit there watching how the melodramatic mess plays out? For those of you watching this one for the entertainment factor, you can choose to do the former. But for me, I had to endure The Last Paradiso from top to bottom, and it’s a voyage I wish I hadn’t ventured on.
The Last Paradiso is a melodrama – it’s mostly kind of like watching those soaps on TV when we were younger (or still now, whatever rocks your boat). The movie is a testament of toxic masculinity, brazen manipulation and a lead character who thinks he’s some next-level Shakespearean hero or something but is no such thing.
Ciccio thinks of himself as high and mighty, and for some reason so down the town. He’s the saviour of the village-folk – simple people who give in to the evils around them and toil forever. But not Ciccio. He’s the blue-eyed boy with the devil-may-care attitude who stands up to the bad guys and tries to rile people up. He is bored with his life here and wants to join the big leagues in the city eventually.
He seems decent enough till now, I suppose. Oh but wait till you know this – Ciccio has a wife and child. He also has multiple lovers. Right now its Bianca, the daughter of Cumpa Schettino, the bad guy (who is a paedophilic rapist, might I add). So, married man Ciccio has picnics and impromptu dates at night in the barn (yep, that) with his lover, all the while his wife toils at home and takes care of their son. When questioned, Ciccio just runs away or, get this, tells Lucia: “For you, it’s sin. For me, it’s not.” The perfect husband right there, folks.
Now, after all this, the inevitable happens, and in comes another character who singlehandedly takes down the little bit of energy that this boring and headache-inducing movie brought our way. There’s a moustache, lots of frowns and a few twists and turns which don’t surprise anyone. What we, the audience, however, are left with are confusion and a bitter taste in the mouth.
So, listen, The Last Paradiso has the dullest characters I have seen in cinema in a while. I am all for melodrama, but it does not just consist of showing bare boobs and very awkward sex on-screen. if anything, that makes it worse. The characters and their “actions” are just so awkward to look at because they themselves don’t seem to be into the whole deal. In the second half, it’s just plain boring. Honestly, there’s no other way to put it.
I liked the cinematography, however. The Last Paradiso looks pretty and so do the people – props to the costume department for that. The actors do an okay-ish job. Maybe a bit more chemistry wouldn’t have made the intimate scenes as awkward. I think I liked Valentina Cervi the most, or maybe I just felt bad for her. Riccardo Scamarcio as Ciccio is fine but as his heavily-moustached counterpart is… well, meh.
Summing Up: The Last Paradiso
The Last Paradiso provides no relief when it comes to characters or storyline. The pacing is pretty off sometimes and is boring all the time. You will hate the protagonist right off the bat because of how virtuous he makes himself out to be, although he’s just another cheating a-hole. How the creators thought that we’d feel any sense of sadness or regret at how his story plays out is beyond me.
The Last Paradiso is streaming on Netflix.
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