Cinematic Cynicism: a Review of ‘Padre Pio’
There may never have been a more cynical attempt to market a motion picture nobody would otherwise go to see – by giving it a title (and a poster image to go with it) that has next to nothing to do with the film’s actual content.
That poster features the film’s “star,” Shia LaBeouf, who is on screen for about as long as the donkey he rides in on in an early sequence of Abel Ferrara’s Padre Pio.
Padre Pio? Mr. LaBeouf impersonates the Italian saint who was marked with the stigmata of Christ, but we never see those holy wounds*** or get any sense of this character’s saintliness in a film that’s really about class war and the rise of fascism in Italy. Benito Mussolini came to power at just the time depicted in the film.
Maybe that could have been an interesting movie, but the scenes of the meetings and conversations of the would-be socialist revolutionaries and fascist bully boys of Padre Pio have all the gravitas of a low-budget telenovela. Mind you, the struggles of the poor in Italy against the entrenched upper classes were very real.