With a smirk and a wink to camera opening nearly every episode, Jude Law provides us with his finest role to date. A bold statement to make, but when you have ten episodes to flesh out a character as seemingly villainous and traditional as Pope Pius XII, you must hit the ground running. That he does, and Law provides audiences magnificent tension throughout The Young Pope, a series from director Paolo Sorrentino. What a superb pairing the two makes, and in turn they make some of the most dependable, engaging television the modern era will ever see. It is a fascinating, near-perfect piece of drama, with stories flowing over and around characters who grapple with their conscience and faith under the strained formalities of Vatican City living.
Deriving its title from arguably the best Talking Heads song of all, This Must Be the Place is an oddity pairing director Paolo Sorrentino with leading man Sean Penn. Bored of retirement, a rocker embarks on a journey, seeking out the man who executed his father, an ex-Nazi war criminal. Sorrentino presents us his debut English-language feature, and does so with promising style that would soon transfer over to his later offering, Youth, only four years later. Using that unique momentum of his direction to the best of his abilities, he combines a fascinatingly strange story with the powerful cast assembled to craft a sturdy breach into the mainstream English-language markets.