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The Young Pope Is Supposed to Be Ridiculous, and That's What Makes It Good

SeattlePI.com Diane KeatonDiane Keaton
Saturday, 14 January 2017 ()

There's also the Cardinal Secretary of State who has the hornies for an ancient statue that looks like something I made at Thanksgiving dinner out of my mashed potatoes when I was bored by my family's conversation. Acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino has crafted a series -- perhaps while stoned out of his gourd -- that's part performance art and part subversive dark comedy about the clash of modernism and traditional religion, and it's all entrancingly bizarre. The series becomes an occasionally frightening look at absolute power as Lenny tears down the old establishment and even forsakes his most trusted help -- including Sister Mary, played by Diane Keaton -- once he feels the inebriation from the power he's taken. At times he dreams of being liberal and forward-thinking (or was it a nightmare?) and elevates trusted allies to positions of power, and at others, he's ranting about how people have forgotten God and crushing those nearest to him. [...] though Lenny is arrogant, he shoots down a marketer's request for photo shoots to put his visage on plates to sell for 45 Euros, instead taking cues from Banksy and Daft Punk -- who Lenny literally cites; this pope is cool as heck -- and opting to never be photographed and only give addresses shrouded in shadows. Thankfully this strange and inconsistent character is brought to life by a dazzling performance from Law, who somehow makes the Pope's love for Cherry Coke Zero -- and only Cherry Coke Zero; when his assistant asks if he'd like a Diet Coke instead, Lenny says, "Let's not utter heresies" -- a personable quirk from a man who knows what he wants rather than random bizarre dialogue. [...] the surprising thing here is how Sorrentino is also game for frequent humor, particularly when Lenny is scrambling to press the Pope's emergency button that calls in an aide to give him a bogus excuse to get out of an excruciating meeting.
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News video: 'The Young Pope' Creator Talks Trump Parallels

'The Young Pope' Creator Talks Trump Parallels 01:00

In HBO's new series, "The Young Pope," Jude Law plays a young American Pope who has a love for cigarettes and Cherry Coke Zero. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the show's creator, writer, and director, Paolo Sorrentino, opened up about the parallels between Pope Pius the 13th and...

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