Starring: Claudio Bisio, Kasia Smutniak, Remo Girone
Director: Riccardo Milani
Running Time: 98 mins
Welcome Mr. President (Benvenuto Presidente!) is an Italian film about a random man who is mistakenly elected President of Italy, and causes chaos with his unorthodox approach to the role.
This film was a lot of fun. As silly and farcical as it is throughout, it’s a consistently entertaining, energetic and funny comedy that passes the time wonderfully. Thanks to an excellent central performance from Claudio Bisio, as well as some both interesting and often even sweet story lines centring on the modern political world, Welcome Mr. President is full of joy and fun from start to finish.
Let’s start off with what is undoubtedly the best part of the film: Claudio Bisio. Given that the story at play is beyond preposterous, Bisio takes on the responsibility to make his character fit in well with that more ridiculous atmosphere. As a result, he’s lively, silly and crazy throughout, but he also manages to bring a good degree of heart to the character, making the film all the more engaging than just a stupid comedy.
So, while he’s messing up age-old protocol by going it alone and turning up in random local bars, there’s a sign of method to his madness, overturning an archaic and seemingly unfair political world for the better of everyone, something that’s hugely pleasant to watch on screen, and even if it doesn’t always head towards the most satisfying conclusions, it’s still a very welcome element of the movie.
Moving on from Bisio, the comedy itself in this film isn’t half-bad. On the one hand, a lot of the humour is pretty simple slapstick, largely focusing on a random man turning up in the age-old role as President and messing everything up, but there’s also a lot of good satire, particularly when it’s criticising the craftiness of politicans, and even the seemingly farcical element of such an archaic role as the President, with its endless protocols and rules.
On the whole, while it’s not a wholly perfect film, and it may seem like a ridiculous situation to make a film on, but there’s method to its madness if you stick with it throughout, thanks to a fantastically funny performance from Claudio Bisio, an entertaining and often even sweet story with a good degree of slapstick and satire throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.