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Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Ed Stoppard, Alex Macqueen

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Very Fellini-esque in conception and execution, this study of life in a Swiss spa resort is as leisurely as the walks undertaken together by its two leading characters, Fred (Caine), a once-eminent composer and conductor with a wife in psychiatric care, and Mick (Keitel), a once-great movie director whose last films have been flops.

Mick anxiously awaits the arrival of his ageing muse Brenda (Fonda), while Fred. whose daughter (Weisz) is trying to get over the desertion of her husband (Stoppard) and act as assistant to her father, constantly rebuffs requests from an emissary (Alex Macqueen) of the Queen to come out of retirement - to conduct his music for herself and Prince Philip, who is a particular fan.

There seem to be no pleasures at the resort apart from sauna and massages, although the two old codgers do experience a catharsis of sorts when Miss Universe (Madalina Ghenea) walks naked into their jacuzzi.

You just know someone will die before this languorous movie is over, but the pleasure, of course, resides in the performances. Caine wisely abandons early attempts at a posh accent to deliver an excellent performance as Fred in a scenario which, if structurally weak, is sometimes a heady mix of eroticism and nightmare.

Paloma Faith, in for a scene or two, proves herself a tigerishly good singer, but an abysmally limp actress. Paloma - don't give up the day job.

David Quinlan

Italy/France/UK/Switzerland 2015. UK Distributor: StudioCanal (Pathe). Colour by Luxor.
122 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 24 Jan 2016