Posted On Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 09:23:20 AM
If you are a fan of Hitchcock, the Coens or Polanski, this nerve-tingling Capotondi puzzler with its multiple, wily twists will surely thrill as expected.
But running closely on the lines of a a film noir with a generous dollop of crime, death, melancholy, murder and unrequited romance, this Italian intrigue about a Slovenian immigrant woman and an ex-cop is certainly not what it seems and is a long bewildering ride with its precarious twisty turns although everything falls into place and sense eventually.
A seemingly timid Sonia (Kseniya Rappoport) — a hotel chambermaid, meets the sad, shy, lonely ex-cop Guido (Filippo Timi) at a speed-dating dinner.
They end up meeting more often till one day they are violently attacked leaving Guido dead and Sonia with a gunshot wound to the head... A stark, raw cinematography shows a beautifully pictured Turin region, and the movie begins swiftly, with Sonia, the hotel maid who’s cleaning when a guest leaps to her death from the window.
The desperate suicide and a speed-dating session for desperate singles states the tenor of the film. At both events, the sad, pretty hotel chambermaid named Sonia is present.
From there on — and in retrospect from the very beginning — debut director Capotondi dexterously weaves deceptions, hallucinations and family skeletons into a grim mystery that isn’t resolved until the final, shocking shot.
After every protracted, periodic gap, writer-director Giuseppe Capotondi reshuffles his narrative and deals a completely new hand often leaving the viewer puzzled yet wanting to know more.
Just when you think you are close to the answer, you realise you have been neatly tricked and fallen into the trap of the delicious guessing game. The plot keeps you constantly searching, furiously examing and evaluating.
But there also runs a dark streak throughout this psychological thriller. In what is shown for real is a perplexing doubt which nags you all the while. As things suddenly take a dark turn, Sonia’s dark past resurfaces and her present, her reality slowly starts to disintegrate.
Everything begins to change for the worse and her tormented self-questioning interlaces with the relentless police investigation where uncomfortable questions arise and answered through a quagmire of thought and action, twists and turns right till the denouement of the film.
The camera work is frank and brutal. Unravelling a suspense thriller credited to three writers, Capotondi has a sharp eye for detail and form and his compositions are visually arresting and one of the most arresting image is that of a traumatised Sonia immersed in a bath tub, deep in turbulent thought.
Some of the plot hinges on surprise, sometimes on shock, but especially in the latter half, a sense of predicatability creeps in. And the thrill of the moment is suddenly lost.
The narrative is clever, fastpaced but the building suspense loses its fizz not in the labyrinth of a twisted plot but in a dampening smog of mind games and convoluted thought about the ambiguity of deception and reality, the uncertainty of love and trust and within these blurred moments you are left as confused as you were at the start of the film. - Available at all DVD libraries