‘Leonardo’ is a historical drama created by Frank Spotnitz and Steve Thompson. The series was made by Italian Lux Vide together with Rai Fiction, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Frank Spotnitz's Big Light Productions, and Freddie Highmore's Alfresco Pictures in association with France Télévisions and RTVE. The visual effects of this project were created by Stargate Studios Malta.
Irish actor Aiden Turner, who played the title character in the BBC series Poldark and also the dwarf Kili in The Hobbit film trilogy, takes on the role of the Renaissance great, whose personal life remains a mystery. Turner stars with Freddie Highmore from The Good Doctor as a police officer working on a murder; Oscar-nominated actor Giancarlo Giannini as the creative artist Verrocchio; and Italian actor Matilda DE Angelis as Caterina da Cremona, Leonardo’s inspiration.
Leonardo is framed as a survey of the artist’s life as he's close to stand trial for the killing of platonic best friend Caterina da Cremona (De Angelis).
The series endeavors to analyze Leonardo, whose father abandoned him. However, this looks like a fast sketch instead of the fuller portrait one of history’s greatest minds surely deserves.
The show competently delves into the artiste’s mind and ultimately reveals the inner workings of a perfectionist attempt to make it huge in the art circles. Vinci’s resolute however reticent mannerisms become the pivot for a murder thriller, quietly brewing below the main plot of a historical drama. Aidan Turner’s comes back as the master fits the aesthetic perfectly. Detailed backstories precede his popular works like the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. Although it’s an extrapolation of facts, credit ought to be extended to the makers for developing an environment that feels lived-in and convincing.
The show’s presentation comes with a creative sophistication: every scene is framed as if each shot were an oil painting. Sadly, overall it lacks an innovative spark. Everything (except for the central performances) goes half-heartedly through the motions, attempting to squeeze the maximum amount of drama into the opening episodes as much as possible. Although the start of the series doesn’t work as a good introduction, Leonardo has potential, provided it’s ready to contour its unwieldy script.
It’s the same that artists are meant to be unhappy if they're to create something worthy. And Leonardo was certain to show the titular character drowning in sorrow. He was cursed as a toddler to destroy everything he adored. That curse took a toll on Leo growing up, particularly as somebody who was shunned by his father. Caterina's arrival provided Leo with the love he had been missing in his life. However, even their relationship got marred by the circumstances the two found themselves in over the years, ultimately snowballing into Caterina’s death.
Aidan Turner and Matilda De Angelis did a beautiful job in depicting the sturdy bond between Leo and Caterina. The love shared between them will make you feel sad whenever they’re separated due to circumstances. And for those confused, there’s no jealousy between Caterina and Salai as the love Leo had for each of them was different.
While Leonardo won't be for everybody because of the murder-mystery setup and therefore the liberties taken with retelling an exemplary artist’s story in such a way that it’s highly recommended for you to watch the show. Every episode is around fifty minutes long. The first season is binge-able and it's appreciated as the series does not shy to have a queer Leonardo da Vinci as the lead.
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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