The first i heard about this Sky /HBO TV series was a trailer at the cinema and was intrigued by what i saw. Jude Law stars as the new Pope and follows his trials and tribulations in a fascinating, if somewhat frustrating season.
The Young Pope follows the early days of Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), the youngest and first American Pope, who has been elected to the highest office in the Catholic church, after a failed plot for power by his mentor. It soon becomes clear that Pope Pius XIII with his outrageous demands and rebellious ways won’t follow the Vatican’s rules and the stage is set for controversy and outrage.
Jude Law is mesmerising as the Pope, having his own ideas of where the church should be going but also full of self-doubt. He refuses to show his face to the press or public and heralds a move away from liberalism towards hard-line conservatism. The other cast members are also excellent including Diane Keaton and Silvio Orlando and the cinematography makes the most of the beautiful Vatican city and landscapes. Some may find it a bit slow going with a couple of episodes not really progressing the story and those looking for hard criticism of the Catholic church may be disappointed as it is more about faith and how we interpret it more than anything else.
Director Paolo Sorrentino won acclaim in 2013 with his movie The Great Beauty and in this, his first TV series, you can see his talent as a film-maker even if the story seems a little disjointed in parts. It will be interesting to see where the series goes if it gets a second season.
The Blu ray released by Spirit Entertainment has the 10 episode series spread over 4 discs. The picture is excellent, colours are bright and solid and the overall image quality is very satisfying. Audio has DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and sounds fine, more ambiance than anything it certainly adds to the enjoyment, especially with the unusual soundtrack.
Overall an interesting if slightly bloated series but certainly worth a watch, especially for Jude Law’s great performance.
SERIES: 7 PICTURE: 8.5 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 4