Combustible Celluloid
With: Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins, Juan Minujín, Luis Gnecco, Sidney Cole, Lisandro Fiks, Maria Ucedo, Willie Jonah, Thomas D. Williams, Achille Brugnini, Federico Torre, Germán de Silva, Josello Bella
Written by: Anthony McCarten
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content and some disturbing violent images
Running Time: 125
Date: 12/20/2019

The Two Popes (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Papal Trail

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Fernando Meirelles's The Two Popes has a potentially great movie stuck inside of itself. It involves a current pope, hoping to retire, and his potential replacement, played by two great actors. Simply watching these two talk and think and hash out ideas would have been spectacular, but writer Anthony McCarten spends a long, long time describing the backstory of the good, kind Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce), and his dark secrets. Then, Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) wildly overdirects — a close-up shot of one man's face slightly obscuring the other man's face will smash-cut to a shot looking down from the highest corner of the ceiling — as if terrified we might get bored for a single moment. Fortunately Pryce and Anthony Hopkins, as Pope Benedict, are so commanding, and their discourse so fascinating, that the movie still works and is worth experiencing.

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