Ennio review – Giuseppe Tornatore’s heartfelt tribute to film composer Morricone | Movies

This documentary represents a painstakingly detailed, fantastically entertaining and deeply exhausting deep dive into the career of hyper-productive Italian composer Ennio Morricone, perhaps best known for his orchestral scores for Sergio Leone (including the so-called Dollars trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West ), Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 – and a slew of American films ranging from the great (Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables) to the hideous (Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight).

It’s not so much the 156 minute running time that will tire you out, but the incredible sonic, visual and emotional overload generated by the work itself; perhaps this should ideally be seen first in a movie theater for maximum impact and then again in small, digestible chunks at home. It is an enormous cinematic mosaic that combines in mosaic form a large-scale interview with the man himself (coincidentally filmed just before he died in 2020) with acres of archive material and fragments from the films for which he wrote soundtracks.

Plus, there are hundreds of interview clips of his countless collaborators, friends, and admirers — even if some of them just seem to be there to show how good the producers were at snagging big names. (Bruce Springsteen, for instance, is a bit too fiery and hyperbolic.) Any flaws, however, are more than offset by the overall level of discourse that ranks the music above all else, with intelligent, pithy observations from Morricone’s contemporaries of classical composers such as Boris. Porena, as well as other film music masters such as Hans Zimmer and Mychael Danna.

As you might expect, there are many lovely personal anecdotes from diverse collaborators, including Joan Baez and singers little known outside of Italy, who remember Morricone’s innovative arrangements for RCA pop songs before going to the movies. English director Roland Joffé is particularly entertaining, showing off his Italian as he discusses Morricone’s mighty score to Joffé’s The Mission, which we see performed by a huge Morricone-directed orchestra. Considering the director of the documentary is Giuseppe Tornatore, it’s no surprise that a small amount is spent on his collaborations with Morricone like Cinema Paradiso, but overall Tornatore ultimately revolves around its main subject. Kudos also go to editor Massimo Quaglia’s amazingly fluid work putting it all together.

Ennio will be released in theaters and on digital platforms on April 22.

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