‘The Empire of Light’ (2022) Film Review: An Ode to Cinema

The Empire of Light (Empire of Light) is a film written and directed by Sam Mendes starring Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward and Colin Firth.

Sam Mendes is the absolute protagonist in a photographically wonderful film that pays a retro homage to the cinema, to the real one, which we have all begun to forget.

M3gan review
M3gan review

The Empire of Light (2022) Film Review

About the movie

A love story in many ways, physically, metaphorically, psychologically, photographically… The Empire of Light is a true delight…

Old-fashioned, charmingly out-of-date.

Sam Mendes proves that not every theater director has to be “useless” when he makes it to the big screen. This is a film that knows how to perfectly combine “making movies”, taking care of the shots, preparing the scenes, editing, composition of shots… with that “theatrical” shot of interpretation and evolution of characters.

A film that knows how to take the best of both worlds and, on an artistic level, give us the best of each world, in a very, very difficult balance to achieve (yes, he already did it with his first film, American Beauty).

After this you will tell me: well, we are going to be stunned! Not so much, because it is a film that chooses adult themes, deep characters and, thematically and rhythmically, it is not a simple or easy film to digest. It is very complex in the way it evolves, reflects with the image and with the text itself and does not offer a unique vision of the characters, mired in confusion (as in Revolutionary Road).

It’s not easy, nor does it want to be, nor is it a movie for everyone: it’s slow-paced and full of charming, brutal paradoxes, of complexity.

A film that never resorts to the easy and that is not always going to be liked.

A film that, curiously, only gets one Oscar nomination, for Best Cinematography: it’s its great aspect, but not the only one. Photographically it is brilliant, cared for in each shot. Shot “old fashioned”, with a sense of chiaroscuro and a sense of composition.

Our opinion

Good cinema, the real one, the complex one, the adult one. An ode to cinema, to life itself and, also, to the human being that unfolds in a wonderfully complex metaphor with an elegant style.


Sam Mendes is an English film and theater director, best known for directing the film American Beauty (1999), for which he won the Oscar for Best Director.

Mendes was born in Reading, Berkshire, England, in 1965.

He studied at Cambridge University and became associate director of the Royal National Theater in London.

In 2000, Mendes was knighted for his services to drama.

He won the Best Director Oscar for American Beauty (1999), becoming the youngest filmmaker to do so.

In 2002, Mendes directed the James Bond film Die Another Day, making him the second British director to direct a Bond film.

Mendes has also directed award-winning plays, such as The Ferryman in 2018, which won nine Tony Awards, tying the record previously held by The Producers in 2001.

He has directed two feature films starring Daniel Craig as James Bond: Skyfall (2012) and Specter (2015).

In 2012, Mendes founded Neal Street Productions with Pippa Harris and Caro Newling and has since produced several hit television series, including Call The Midwife and Penny Dreadful.

Mendes married actress Kate Winslet in 2003, but they divorced in 2010.

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