Complete A-Z list

Hand of God, The


Stars: Filippo Scotti, Teresa Saponangelo, Toni Servillo, Luisa Ranieri, Betty Pedrazzi, Marlon Joubert

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

An often lurid, semi-autobiographical depiction of the director's teenage years, set in the Naples of the 1980s, when the local football club had just signed the legendary Maradona, famous for his 'Hand of God' goal against England in the 1986 world cup.

We are introduced to a seemingly happy family, the mother (Saponangelo), an irrepressible prankster, the father (Servillo) hiding an unexpected secret. Their older son (Joubert) is an aspiring actor.

For sixteeen-year-old Fabietto (Scotti), the world revolves round family gatherings, an obsession with football, and lusting after his voluptuous but mentally fragile aunt Patrizia (Ranieri, still stunning at 46). Otherwise, the narrative is fragmented and rambling, although the photography of Naples and its glittering coast is breathtaking.

But, although the atmosphere is good (you can feel the Neapolitan ambience), the film is never really audience friendly (unless you count the scene of Patrizia sunbathing in the nude!), with the inexpressive leading man failing to convey a decent range of emotions, not doing enough to draw us in to the minutiae of his life, which rarely seems interesting enough to justify a film.

David Quinlan

Italy 2021. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour by Chromatica.
131 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 29 Nov 2021