On holiday at a wellness hotel, a retired composer and his oldest friend must face their fears and their pasts in the European indie film “Youth”. The film is far too drawn out to appreciate the talented cast and makes you feel as if you aged along with the film.
Actor Michael Caine finally embodies the stereotypical sad, elderly character instead of the strong characters he’s known for playing in his older years. He is joined by an incredibly talented ensemble, but none of the performances are enough to keep you fully grossed throughout the story.
“Youth” has a run time of under two hours, but it somehow feels like an eternity. This is due to the fact that nothing really happens during the film. There are a few minimal surprises, but nothing to peak your diminishing interest. A film that had the potential to be a powerhouse leaves you disappointed that you wasted two hours to see an otherwise intriguing cast. Caine’s character Fred has been offered a knighthood by the British queen, but it comes with a price. He must agree to conduct a piece of work that, for personal reasons, he has refused to play for years. Instead of focusing on filling the audience with aching destined to know what these reasons might be, they show the insignificant internal struggles of the other lead characters instead.
Harvey Keitel plays Mick, a washed up writer/director who believes he is only as good as his star actress. Most of his story shows him with his group of young writing assistants. Watching them have a discussion is like watching paint dry. None of the group have anything interesting to offer to the audience and fill the viewer with more disdain when they appear on screen. Every character in this film is filled with so much unhappiness that time is wasted waiting for someone, anyone, to find some joy in their lives.
Fred and Mick’s friendship is the only thing endearing about the film. The events that happen to them are just too lackluster to care about. The majority of the film is the duo, or one of them and a subordinate character, going for a walk and talking. There is just far too many of these scenes where they are casually strolling through the Swiss alps and chatting. The biggest things that happen to the two elderly men are them occasionally hallucinating or catching a glimpse of a hotel guest naked in the pool.
The cast for “Youth” is full of award nominees, but they were unfortunately given a lackluster script. Besides walking around through beautiful scenery, nothing much happens to the two lead me not anyone they come in contact with. The entire film can be skipped and no one will be worse off.