Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

“Vincere” (+)

This film is a docudrama portraying the events surrounding Benito Mussolini (Filippo Timi) in his youth, beginning in 1907 when he was a member of the Socialist Party.

Mussolini was a revolutionary when he met Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), who saved him from the police.  They had a hot-and-heavy affair and married.  He supported the war against Germany and broke with the Socialist Party — which opposed going to war in 1914.  For unexplained reasons, Mussolini left Ida and wed Rachele (Michela Cescon).  Ida spent the rest of her life trying to get him to recognize her as his wife and their son as his heir.  Mussolini’s response to her drives her into a mental institution.

Although Timi looks nothing like Mussolini, he makes him come alive on the screen.  Timi also portrays Mussolini’s son, Benito Albino — who, as an adult, also ends up in a mental institution.

Unrated. Running time: 2 hours, 8 minutes. Currently screening at, among other places, IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third Street). For info., call 212-924-7771.

“Chloe” (-)

Every Friday from 7:00-8:00 p.m., I host a live call-in program on Bloomberg Radio, Station 1130 AM.  After the show, I try to catch a film that starts around 8:30 p.m.  “Chloe” was playing at Cinema 123 near the broadcast studio so I decided to see it.  What a mistake.  It is a terrible movie

Catherine (Julianne Moore), a gynecologist in Toronto, is planning a surprise birthday party for her husband, David (Liam Neeson), a college music professor.  Their marriage is in trouble.  She resents his flirtatious behavior with his female students, and he apparently has lost his intimate yearning for her. 

Bizarrely, in a restaurant bathroom, Catherine meets a prostitute, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried).  She hatches a plot to test her husband’s faithfulness using Chloe as the bait.  Chloe agrees to the plot accepting her normal fees for the night.  The reports that Catherine receives from Chloe drive her wild.  Adding to Catherine’s woes is her teenage son, Michael (Max Thieriot), who lives at home.  Michael, an accomplished pianist, hates his mother and tortures her by having girls spend the night with him in their home.

Much of the action takes place in Catherine’s office which is separated from the patient waiting room by a glass door which is itself bizarre.  Although the family is rich and lives a wealthy lifestyle, their money brings them no happiness.  Their lives are empty.  The picture contains a few surprises, including a lesbian love scene, but overall the story unfolds very slowly and in the end is unbelievable and of no consequence.  “Chloe” reminded me of “Fatal Attraction” which was a believable and captivating film.  This knockoff is not.    

Rated R; running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. Currently screening at, among other places, Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (850 Broadway). For info., call 212-253-2225.