Not every movie needs to be two and a half hours long.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a movie being that long. In fact, I would say that a lot of movies thrive at that length. Flicks like Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and most of Quentin Tarantino’s films earn their length by providing rich, multilayered stories for audiences to absorb.
However, what causes problems is when a movie is that long just because it can be. This is precisely the issue with “Loro.”
“Loro” is a fictional biopic about Silvio Berlusconi (Toni Servillo), a charismatic Italian media tycoon that served as the country’s 50th Prime Minister.
You may be wondering what I mean by “fictional biopic.”
Well, “Loro” tells a story about Berlusconi’s life as the Prime Minister and all of the despicable things he did. Before it even begins, however, the audience is greeted with a disclaimer that basically says the film is fictional and its characters and events are just loosely based on what actually happened.
In other words, the producers didn’t want to get sued.
Before I vent about all of the things I didn’t like about “Loro,” I want to say I think this is a good film. It just gets watered down by a lot of mistakes. All the right pieces are there. It has an enigmatic main character, an interesting story, great performances and excellent production. Beyond that, however, are many more additional and unnecessary sequences as well as characters in the film that add nothing except minutes on its runtime.
What works best in the film is its central story about the corrupt Berlusconi.
The film does a good job at making you dislike Berlusconi. It paints him as a very extravagant, arrogant and selfish man who cares more about partying than running a country. This makes it satisfying to watch him struggle when he fulfills his duty as Prime Minister. The audience hates this character, and getting to see how his misdeeds come back to haunt him is satisfying.
Despite being so unlikeable, Berlusconi is still a three-dimensional character. He has his own emotions and motivations, and there are times where you almost feel bad for him. This is entirely due to Servillo’s performance in the role. He was able to make the audience dislike him, but still provide legitimate emotion during more down-to-earth scenes. He was charismatic and arrogant, but he still made Berlusconi out to be a human with complex emotions.
Despite the work that “Loro” does to provide an intriguing main character, the first missteps in the film happen immediately when it begins.
“Loro” throws the audience into its situations and characters without explaining any of them. The film opens by focusing on a man named Sergio Morra (Riccardo Scamarcio), an Italian pimp who is running a fairly large prostitution ring. “Loro” shows him going about his business dealings, introduces the audience to his family life and even gives a good look at what his aspirations are. The film focuses on him for a good twenty minutes at the beginning, and the addition of this narrative makes you believe he is going to be the main character. However, Morra is almost completely discarded once Berlusconi enters the picture.
The film goes through the effort of making the audience curious about this man and what is going to happen to him, only to ditch the storyline almost entirely later on. It almost feels like they forgot about him when they were halfway through writing the script. All the time they spend on Morra is wasted and it becomes entirely unnecessary to the actual story about Berlusconi’s corruption that “Loro” is telling, and as a result, it needlessly increases the length of the film.
There are also numerous lengthy party sequences that serve as an unneeded addition to the film’s length as well. The audience is forced to just sit there and watch the film’s characters dance, do drugs and have sex (in some very graphic scenes), and none of it adds anything to the plot of the film. It’s just there because it can be, and it’s incredibly frustrating.
“Loro” has an interesting story to tell, and it has all the pieces it needs to tell it well, but there were too many mistakes that hold it back from being great. Similar to Berlusconi himself, the film was too focused on excess details to provide any sort of meaningful material for the audience.