Review: ‘Inside the Mind of Leonardo’ tours Italy, not Da Vinci’s head


Peter Capaldi of “Doctor Who” performs excerpts from some 6,000 pages of Leonardo da Vinci’s journals for the documentary “Inside the Mind of Leonardo,” but what you actually glean from the artist’s mind here seems peripheral compared with, say, J. M. W. Turner’s personal and professional torments as depicted in Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner.”

Part of “Leonardo” feels like a guided sightseeing tour of Italy, tracking his footprints through Tuscany, Florence and Milan. Although the film does pay visits to some illustrious sites such as Andrea del Verrocchio’s workshop where Da Vinci once apprenticed, this travelogue also makes many irrelevant stops.

Though billed as a 3-D experience, “Leonardo” is flat in more ways than one. It’s unclear which of the labor-intensive animated sequences are actually based on Da Vinci’s sketches and drawings, and Capaldi’s soliloquies don’t really elevate the film much above the kind of educational documentaries you’d see at a museum. Only during the nature photography is the 3-D discernible.


Where filmmaker Julian Jones falls short, though, Da Vinci’s works speak for themselves. The thrilling spectacle of “Mona Lisa” will leave few unmoved.

“Inside the Mind of Leonardo.”

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Playing: Crest Theatre, Westwood.