Inside The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci in 3D – Review

An illegitimate unschooled Italian boy would spend his 67 years of life changing the world's perceptions on art, science, war, love, and the universe itself.  Leonardo Da Vinci is a figure that holds such aura centuries after his death that it's easy to miss all of the amazing attributions he's left us.  Inside the Mind of Leonardo in 3D is a unique look into the life and times of this amazing genius.  Click through for my insights and review of the film.

"From the epic to the ordinary, Inside the Mind of Leonardo explores how Leonardo experienced the world around him. Following a biographical narrative, the feature captures the artist’s thwarted ambitions, hurt, anger –and sexual desire — as documented within his diaries, but also the everyday-ness of normal life: his shopping lists, health tips and even bawdy jokes."  from the film's website.

3 important elements to realize about this film are it's use of 3D technology, it's contemporary setting, and it's use of only Leonardo's words.  Oh and this kick ass fella helps bring to life the famous inventor, painter, philosopher, and genius.

Inside the Mind of Leonardo - Photo 39

BAFTA- and Oscar-winning actor/director Peter Capaldi brings forth a powerful performance as Leonardo, by mixing humor, stern resolve, and passion to the centuries old words of Da Vinci.  As Peter pops in and out of the film each short section gives such a fun escape into the mind of the genius.  My personal favorite moments are the small moments of Da Vinci simply talking about needing some soup or a good rest.  The inner dialogue of us all is always more interesting then the words written by others.  And with over 6,000 pages of handwritten notes from Leonardo the film is able to gives us a full look into the human qualities of such a renowned figure.  But back to those 3 important choices made by the filmmaker, Julian Jones.

3.  3D – Why shoot this in this platform?  Usually 3D is a ploy device used by big budget films to make things "cooler".  But the logistics of showcasing the brilliance of a man who lived in the 15th & 16th Century allows for the medium to really showcase Leonardo and his work.  Using his actual drawings and mixing in the real modern world allows for a really beautiful look into the mind of Da Vinci.  For instance, the ability to showcase the functions of Da Vinci's warfare inventions is quite haunting to witness.  Just as seeing his flying inventions brings about awe for a man who lived in a time where the notion of such things could lead to public ruin and even death.  His insights are able to be fully appreciated by modern audiences who can see how using such a fun technology is almost a homage to Da Vinci's life itself.  Basically if Da Vinci lived today, he'd be a bold scientist that would utilize technology to all of its full capacity.  So the element of 3D is not distracting but rather extremely inventive and bold. 

2. The film jumps around all of Leonardo's 67 years of life, but chooses to show us the modern Italy rather than try and recreate the ancient world.  It's a wonderful bridge of Leonardo's world and how our world is completely changed because of many of his thoughts and inventions.  But just as wonderful are the scenes of a falconer putting on a show with his diving bird of prey in the middle of a lush green field in Italy.  It's the great mixture of countryside, modern urban environment, and the ruins that Peter spends the majority of his scenes that brings forth a magical world.  The cinematography in the film is quite beautiful and the 3D elements don't distract from the natural beauty of Italy.  It's hard to watch a historical film and not feel a distance, the choice to make this a contemporary setting helps bring the film into a modern context.  Leonardo's work isn't just for a bunch of dead generations but is extremely important to our lives and for future generations. 

1. We only hear and read Leonardo's words.  This is the real power of the film.  There isn't a bunch of talking heads telling us how brilliant Da Vinci was, but rather we hear and see his vast intellect.  We also are treated to a sly, funny and even naughty fella that didn't mind saying whatever the hell he pleased.  Bold is a word we don't' think of as highly today as back then.  Think of all the great inventors and philosophers prior to Leonardo.  Men like Galileo, or Socrates.  These men's bold nature lead them to horrible imprisonments and charges of heresy.  To be bold before the modern era was a lonely choice that could lead to horrible demise.  So to see an uneducated man become such a powerful influence and figure is quite impressive.  And we are talking in a time of the Borgia family who certainly didn't mind killing folks for the smallest of issues.  To be bold and to still live on centuries beyond is something that is hard to see in a our modern world.  The film treats us to the realities of Leonardo's time by allowing us to hear his words and only his words.  He may well be biased, but at least we know it's him and not a made up figure of our imagination.  In the end we are able to see what Leonardo meant to say. 

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”  ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

I went into this film apprehensive about what more it could showcase of such a important historical figure.  After watching the film I realize there is so much more to the history of important people, there is their impact on our lives today and tomorrow.  The film uses a water metaphor in the beginning that makes the viewing of the Mona Lisa a truly new look as you see all that surrounds her is just as important as she is. The film isn't able to give the full and complete story of Leonardo's life and times, but it does get to the real heart of the man.  A wonderful film you all should check out.

More information about the film, here.

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