‘The Childhood of a Leader’ reviews from the world premiere at Venice Film Festival
A striking, impressionistically filmed final sequence set some time in the future doesn’t so much answer these questions as pose new ones. Here Walker’s full orchestral soundtrack rises to a deafening pitch, mixing brass punches and string-section yelps into its driving, jackboot march. In combination with British DoP Lol Crawley’s atmospheric 35mm photography and Corbet’s assured direction of an excellent cast, it makes for an edgy, poetic mix with the dramatic potency of a good nightmare.
Attempting to describe the rise of fascism in Europe between the two world wars as a parable about a wayward little boy, the dark and dreamy The Childhood of a Leader can only be called extraordinarily over-ambitious.