Venice Film Festival 2023: All Of Deadline’s Movie Reviews

UPDATED with latest: The Venice Film Festival began August 30 with opening-night movie Comandante, an Italian World War II drama, kicking off a lineup for the venerable fest’s 80th edition that includes world premieres of Michael Mann’s Ferrari, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, David Fincher’s The Killer, Ava DuVernay’s Origins, and new films from lightning-rod directors Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Luc Besson.

Deadline is on the ground to watch all the key films. Below is a compilation of our reviews from the fest, which last year awarded Laura Poitras’ documentary All The Beauty and the Bloodshed its Golden Lion for best film.

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Click on the film titles below to read the reviews in full, and keep checking back as we add more movies throughout the fest, which runs through September 9.



Section: Competition
Director: Stefano Sollima
Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Adriano Giannini, Gianmarco Franchini, Francesco Di Leva, Lorenzo Adorni, Silvia Salvatori
Deadline’s takeaway: Surprisingly, Sollima’s film went into production without a full script, but the finished film is confident, sleek and intricately organized, often holding back vital information often until the last possible moment.

The Beast (Le Bête)

Section: Competition
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Cast: Léa Seydoux, George MacKay
Deadline’s takeaway: David Lynch did most of this too, in the brilliant Inland Empire, but Bonello puts his own spin on the material with a much more classic arthouse style. It’s sometimes too oblique to be totally satisfying, but Seydoux is a revelation.

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

Section: Out of Competition
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, Jake Lacy, Monica Raymund, Lance Reddick, Lewis Pullman, Elizabeth Anweis, Tom Riley, Francois Battiste, Gabe Kessler, Jay Duplass, Gina Garcia-Sharp, Stephanie Erb, Dale Dye, Denzel Johnson
Deadline’s takeaway: A solid, no-frills, new film that the late director had said he always wanted to make but one that won’t stand on the same level of some of its director’s most vividly great achievements like his Oscar winning The French Connection, horror classic The Exorcist, or underrated (at the time at least) and ambitious Sorcerer.


Section: Competition (Opening Night)
Director: Edoardo De Angelis
Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Massimiliano Rossi, Johan Heldenbergh, Silvia D’Amico, Arturo Muselli, Giuseppe Brunetti, Gianluca Di Gennaro, Johannes Wirix, Pietro Angelini, Mario Russo, Cecilia Bertozzi, Paolo Bonacelli
Deadline’s takeaway: Comandante is just fitfully entertaining, an adventure yarn about a local hero that will struggle to find audiences internationally.

El Conde (The Count)

Section: Competition
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Jaime Vadell, Gloria Münchmeyer, Alfredo Castro, Paula Luchsinger
Deadline’s takeaway: The Count overflows with smart ideas and startling images that never seem gratuitous. It’s as if someone commanded Larraín and Calderón to amaze and astonish, and they willingly obliged.

Coup De Chance

Section: Out of Competition
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Lou de Laâge, Valérie Lemercier, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Schneider
Deadline’s takeaway: Coup de Chance isn’t good, but it may just have enough that is familiar from the director’s long back catalog to please those who wish they really were living in 1953, a hokey 2023, or whatever year it is in WoodyWorld.

Day of the Fight

Section: Horizon Extra
Director: Jack Huston
Cast: Michael C. Pitt, Nicolette Robinson, John Magaro, Anatol Yusef, Steve Buscemi, Ron Perlman, Joe Pesci
Deadline’s takeaway: Day of the Fight is a little earnest, sometimes a bit too style-conscious, and Huston is inclined to put performance before story every time. But the emotional input really earns its payoff in a confident, imaginatively mounted calling card.


Section: Competition
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Jojo T. Gibbs, Christopher Denham, Clemens Schick, Grace Palma
Deadline’s takeaway: There is nothing remotely under-the-radar about Dogman, which fuses movies as diverse as Flawless and Willard with Besson’s trademark, anything-goes approach to genre while giving Landry Jones the perfect showcase.


Section: Competition
Director: Pietro Castellitto
Cast: Pietro Castellitto, Giorgio Quarzo Guarascio, Benedetta Porcaroli, Chiara Noschese, Giorgio Montanini, Adamo Dionisi, Matteo Branciamore, Cesare Castellitto, Sergio Castellitto
Deadline’s takeaway: A blast of sound, fury and meticulously considered framing, Enea isn’t a lasting high.

Evil Does Not Exist (Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai)

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Cast: Hitoshi Omika, Ryo Nishikawa, Ryuji Kosaka, Ayaka Shibutani, Hazuki Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Miura
Deadline’s takeaway: Hamaguchi’s latest brilliant piece of work is not interested in taking the easy road to a satisfactory resolution. On the contrary; his story runs up hard against any kind of easy ending.


Section: Competition
Director: Michael Mann
Cast: Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Sarah Gadon, Gabriel Leone, Jack O’Connell, Patrick Dempsey
Deadline’s takeaway: A strangely unemotional lead performance from Adam Driver and the glacial pace of its narrative means that a film expected to take an early awards-season lead will struggle to hold that pole position.

Final Dawn (Finalmente l’Alba)

Section: Competition
Director: Saverio Costanzo
Cast: Lily James, Rebecca Antonaci, Joe Keery, Rachel Sennott, Alba Rohrwacher, Willem Dafoe
Deadline’s takeaway: Costanzo leans heavily into nostalgia for times past, setting his story in the ‘50s when there were still legions of centurions marching around Cinecitta and live animals awaiting their close-ups. A lion features here, roaring at passers-by. It may well be the film’s most sympathetic character.

Frank Capra: Mr. America

Section: Venice Classics
Director: Matthew Wells
Deadline’s takeaway: Nuanced portrait of three-time Oscar winner who captured a basic Americanness offers a fresh perspective on one of the motion picture industry’s seminal figures while also exploring his unsavory side.

Green Border (Zielona Granica)

Section: Competition
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Cast: Jalal Altawil, Maja Ostaszewska, Tomasz Włosok, Behi Djanati Atai, Mohamad Al Rashi, Dalia Naous
Deadline’s takeaway: It is abundantly clear why Holland made this film the way she did: it’s a modern-day resistance movie dealing with a new kind of fascism, and very much of a piece with her previous classics In Darkness and Europa, Europa.

Hit Man

Section: Out of Competition
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio, Retta
Deadline’s takeaway: Linklater knows just exactly how keep all the balls in the air of this complex story of a hit man who wasn’t a real hit man who just could become a hit man all in the name of love.



Section: Competition
Director: Fien Troch
Cast: Cathalina Geeraerts, Felix Heremans, Greet Verstraete, Serdi Faki Alici, Els Deceukelier, Maya Louisa Sterkendries, Robby Cleiren, Sara De Bosschere
Deadline’s takeaway: A curious, clever film, Holly is Carrie seen from the other side of the mirror, those magic hands by her sides, looking at her own image and wondering who she is.

Housekeeping for Beginners

Housekeeping For Beginners
Housekeeping For Beginners

Section: Horizons
Director: Goran Stolevski
Cast: Anamaria Marinca, Alina Serban, Samson Selim, Vladimir Tintor, Dzada Selim, Mia Mustafa, Sara Klimoska, Rozafa Celaj, Ajshe Useini
Deadline’s takeaway: Everything the filmmaker does here is aimed at conveying what daily life is like for people jammed with their conflicts into a space that always seems too small. It confirms his standing as a filmmaker of impressive originality, skill and style. Goran Stolevski. Remember that name.

I Know Your Soul (TV series)

'I Know Your Soul' review Venice Film Festival
'I Know Your Soul' review Venice Film Festival

Section: Out of Competition
Directors: Alen Drjević and Nermin Hamzagić
Cast: Jasna Duricic, Lazar Dragojevic, Ermin Bravo
Deadline’s takeaway: The multifaceted nature of human relationships and the environmental structures that form them is a hallmark of this series. With a strong narrative and grounded characters, it challenges us to confront the unsettling question: Do we ever truly know someone’s soul?

Io Capitano

Section: Competition
Director: Matteo Garrone
Cast: Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall, Issaka Sawagodo, Hichem Yacoubi, Doodou Sagna, Khady Sy, Bamar Kane, Cheick Oumar Diaw
Deadline’s takeaway: Matteo Garrone, whose actual stock in trade is genre of all stripes — gangster realism (GomorrahDogman), satirical comedy (Reality), and baroque fantasy (Tale of Tales) — has made a blisteringly topical drama that might be his most traditional, and best, yet.

The Killer

Section: Competition
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Kerry O’Malley, Sophie Charlotte, Sala Baker, Emiliano Pernía, Gabriel Polanco
Deadline’s takeaway: The Killer provides a lurid kind of escapism we haven’t really seen since the ’60s, a suave, cold-blooded but very, very funny kind of savoir-faire that finds the frustrated assassin reflecting on his predicament and wondering, “When was my last nice, quiet drowning?”


Section: Competition
Director: Giorgio Diritti
Cast: Franz Rogowski, Christophe Sermet, Valentina Bellè, Noemi Besedes, Cecilia Steiner, Joel Basman
Deadline’s takeaway: The narrative in Lubo runs along a single track: what Lubo will do next. We keep asking that question until the end but, as is so often true, it is the story behind the story that is most compelling.


Section: Competition
Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, Sarah Silverman, Josh Hamilton, Scott Ellis, Gideon Glick, Sam Nivola, Alexa Swinton, Miriam Shor
Deadline’s takeaway: This is a complex story of a man who can’t quite define the intersection of his art and personal life but seems to thrive on the ambiguity — bigger-than-life and towering personality not at all sugar-coated in this compelling take.


'Memory' movie review
'Memory' movie review

Section: Competition
Director: Michel Franco
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Peter Sarsgaard, Brooke Timber, Merritt Wever, Elsie Fisher, Jessica Harper, Josh Charles
Deadline’s takeaway: There is a thoughtfulness in the script but also in the performances. Writer-director Michel Franco long has been interested in misfits, and he’s a fixture on the festival circuit, with good reason. Perhaps Memory is the film that will bring him to a broader public.



Section: Competition
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Jon Bernthal, Connie Nielsen, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor
Deadline’s takeaway: While it occasionally meanders into didactic terrains, the film remains an essential watch for those looking to understand the world’s deeply entrenched systems. With her unique visual style, Ava DuVernay continues to establish herself as one of the most vital voices in contemporary cinema.

Out of Season

'Out Of Season' Review
'Out Of Season' Review

Section: Competition
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Alba Rohrwacher, Sharif Andoura, Lucette Beudin
Deadline’s takeaway: Its predictability would be the death of Out of Season but for two saving graces: the fact that its leads are so electric together and the adventurous way Stéphane Brizé tells his story. Heartache never knows when to stop, but a film should.

The Palace

Roman Polanski movie The Palace
Roman Polanski movie The Palace

Section: Out of Competition
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Oliver Masucci, Fanny Ardant, John Cleese, Bronwyn James, Joaquim De Almeida, Luca Barbareschi, Milan Peschel, Fortunato Cerlino, Mickey Rourke
Deadline’s takeaway: It beggars belief, but, at the age of 90, Polanski may have actually cancelled himself with a film that will probably never see the light of day in any English-speaking countries.

Poor Things

Section: Competition
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, Suzy Bemba, Jerrod Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter, Vicki Pepperdine, Margaret Qualley, Hanna Schygulla
Deadline’s takeway: Poor Things is stuffed with extravagant costumes and sets that make Disneyland look restrained, all cut from the same spangled cloth as the royal romp The Favourite, Lanthimos’ last film. Strip away the decoration, however, and it is actually a return to those first concerns of Dogtooth: essentially, what it is to be a human animal.


Section: Competition
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Dagmara Dominczyk
Deadline’s takeaway: Biopics, especially biopics that never deviate from the facts of a life, often feel plodding. Elvis Presley’s story, moreover, has been told often enough. Told from his former wife’s point of view, however, it becomes another story altogether.

The Promised Land

The Promised Land/Bastarden
The Promised Land/Bastarden

Section: Competition
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Kristine Kujath Thorp, Gustav Lindh
Deadline’s takeaway: They don’t make them like this any more, except when they do. It’s a historical epic out of Denmark that has all the virtues of a midday movie remembered from childhood. Plus, it has one element those midday movies didn’t: Mads Mikkelsen.

Society of the Snow

Society of the Snow
Society of the Snow

Section: Out of Competition
Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Enzo Vogrincic, Augustin Pardella, Matias Recalt
Deadline’s takeaway: J.A. Bayona is an exceptional director of action, and there is plenty here involving avalanches and other terrifying events over the two and a half months from the crash to the rescue. Most impressive, however, is the truly frightening crash itself captured in excruciating detail.

Thank You Very Much

'Thank You Very Much'
'Thank You Very Much'

Section: Venice Classics
Director: Alex Braverman
Deadline’s takeaway: The documentary is an attempt to locate the man behind the myth, and though there’s plenty of firsthand testimony and a treasure trove of archive material, it soon becomes achingly clear that the real Andy Kaufman likely never will be unmasked.

The Theory of Everything (Die Theorie von Allem)

The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything

Section: Competition
Director: Timm Kröger
Cast: Jan Bülow, Olivia Ross, Hanns Zischler, Gottfried Breitfuss, David Bennent, Philippe Graber
Deadline’s takeaway: As a film about the fears that have underscored the 20th century, it is appropriate that its spirit seems drawn from directly from German Expressionism, with all its suggestions of the horrors soon to come.

Woman Of

Section: Competition
Directors: Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert
Cast: Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik, Joanna Kulig, Bogumila Bajor, Mateusz Wieclawek
Deadline’s takeaway: Poland in 2004 – or 2014, 2019 or any of the other marker years in its volatile history – is no place to be transgender. This is a human story but with implied footnotes, and one that plays awkwardly on the screen.

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