The Screening Room Blog
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Music and murder in Paolo Sorrentino's 'Il Divo'

(LONDON, England) -- Murder to music is rarely done as artfully as in the opening sequence of "Il Divo," Sorrentino's biopic of seven-time Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti. The subject matter may be highly political but, this is no stodgy, historical drama.

For a pure emotional hit, the opening sequence may even compete with Scorsese's classic "Jimmy's murder spree" sequence set to "Layla" in 1990 gangster film "Goodfellas."

In "Goodfellas" the piano exit from Clapton's "Layla," performed by Derek and the Dominos is laid over scene after scene of horribly disfigured corpses in a pink car; a garbage truck; a meat locker; and the sequence drips with the melancholy sense of the end of an era.

In complete contrast but packing just as much cinematic punch, the opening sequence of "Il Divo" unfolds to an exhilarating slice of new wave-tinged disco house, "Toop Toop," by French electro duo, Cassius.

The track overlays a sequence of shootings, staged suicides and, finally, an extraordinary slo-mo aerial shot of a crushed car dropping into a pit and exploding.

The first assassin we see walks towards his intended, the track breaks down and all we hear is the boom, boom, boom of the bassline which is perfectly synchronized to his footsteps as if it's his heartbeat. As he starts to shoot the track kicks back in.

A great example of the power of pop music in the movies -- and it's as compulsive as stamping on bugs.

What are your favorite music moments in the movies?

-- From CNN's Mairi Mackay

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