Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: The Trip To Italy (Michael Winterbottom, 2014)

The Trip To Italy is a brilliant and entertaining companion piece to The Trip, the first and different collaboration between director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) and stars Steve Coogan (Philomena) and Rob Brydon (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story). Once again this feature-length film has been edited down from the original television mini series. The spectacular Italian scenery is coupled not just with rich food, but also poetry, affairs, auditions, Roman traffic jams, a barrage of film references and a more-than-healthy dose of impressions.

When Coogan is again commissioned to write an article on Italian cuisine for The Observer – an article his friend and prior companion Brydon wrote for him following their similarly food-fuelled trip through the Northern England Lake District – he reluctantly accepts. Within minutes we find ourselves in Italy, accompanying the crazy British pair as they navigate their way between destinations and argue about whether Alanis Morriset is suitable driving listening. They embark on a road trip through Italy, trialling the local seafood and pasta-based delicacies and lamenting on their personal and professional situations. Their road leads them through Tuscany, Rome, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, in the footsteps of Brydon’s literary icons Byron and Shelley, before it all culminates in Capri with a few additional companions.

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