Fading Gigolo is an interesting film because it is a character study that combines drama and comedy in a sense that is both transcendent and touching. In the path of Ben Affleck and George Clooney, John Turturro proves to be a strong writer and director who put a lot of effort into the film’s themes and stylistic ideas. It’s a film that is more thoughtful than enjoyable, but worthwhile for those looking for something deeper than a typical raunchy comedy.
John Turturro has made an interesting and respectable career choice by choosing to write and direct a feature that is ambitious and interesting, similar to Ben Affleck’s first film Gone Baby Gone. Turturro’s style is both unique and engaging due to the interesting characters and message that he has created. The story itself isn’t that interesting, but it feels more like a concept that allows the messages to be emphasized and personified. This is also impressive because the characters Turturro creates still feel interesting and individual, not blatant metaphors for ideas.
Turturro also gives his best performance since O Brother, Where Art Thou?. There is realism to his performance that allows him to be both relatable and understandable without feeling out of place or cheesy. Turturro also does a great job at selling the more surreal or bizarre elements of the film. Also great is a terrific supporting performance by Woody Allen, who is given the most interesting and hilarious role in the film that is reminiscent of the style of his own films but still well fit to the style of Turturro. The chemistry between Turturro and Allen is what makes the film entertaining and also helps sell the dramatic elements. Another supporting roles by Vanessa Paradis is particularly memorable for the dramatic sense that is added to the film, where other supporting roles by Live Schreiber and Sofia Vergara feel more distracting to the central plot and coherent story.
The use of cinematography is particularly interesting as it is mostly simple shots. This effectively represents the simplicity and innocence of the environment and also makes every scene particularly interesting. The use of soundtrack also helps add lightness to the film that doesn’t distract from the tone or style of the movie. It is relatively well paced, though some scenes drag out and some moments feel unnecessary.
Overall, Fading Gigolo is an enjoyable and thought provoking film that demonstrates the talent that John Turturro has as a director and writer. While it’s hard to compare against any previous works, the film will most definitely appeal to those looking for a truly special film. It’s a thoughtful film, but not a melancholy one. Grade: B