Paolo Sorrentino’s directing debut conveys the brooding side of Naples in a quirky way. A washed up soccer player (Toni Servillo) and a pop singer (Andrea Renzi) have the same name, Antonio Pisapia. Servillo is haunted by the one great goal he scored in Serie A, living in its heavy shadow; Renzi can’t handle his waning fame, diving headlong into cocaine. The soccer player wants to become a coach but is rebuffed; the singer wants love and gigs but sabotages himself.
Sorrentino’s mingling of human drainage in the Naples of the 1980s is deeply moving. He gets to the essence of the Italian word “delusione,” which means more than its straightforward English counterpart. Servillo and Renzi are outstanding.