on 30 November 2005
The Consequences of Love is one of the best films I have seen this year. It focuses on an anonymous businessman who lives a very inactive, solitary existence in a Swiss hotel, and who, we discover little by little, is not in control of his own life and fate as much as he appears to be.
This is director Paolo Sorrentino's second film, but it looks like it has been directed by someone with the confidence of years and years of filmmaking. Several scenes are extremely slowly paced, tracking gradual movements in the frame, and examining textures and settings so that they are quite reminiscent of 'Art' directors such as Antonioni and Tarkovsky. the look and pace of the film also reminded me strongly of the Turkish film Uzak, and if you saw and enjoyed that one, then this is a must too.
This DVD release has a great, sharp picture and includes two small 'making of'documentaries which are, for once, worth watching, and a trailer. The film on its own would be a necessary purchase for anyone who enjoys European cinema, and as for the ending..... you won't forget it in a hurry!
"The Consequences of Love" is an unusual film about a taciturn and aloof Italian businessman who has been living alone in a Swiss hotel for several years. Underneath his surface greyness he hides a number of dark secrets which account for his unhappiness. Starved of friendship and love , he forms a romantic attachment to an attractive waitress in the hotel bar and from that spark of love , he becomes energised to embark on a high risk mission to reclaim his life and break out of his "virtual prison". "The Consequences of Love" can prove to be dangerous indeed. The acting, characterisation and cinematography in this film are all first rate and the plot is intriguing. The ending to the film is one of the most memorable I have seen for quite some time.
on 22 October 2005
This is a beautifully shot film, with enchanting camera work and supreme editing. The film flows at a constant, graceful yet purposeful pace, interspersed with moments of speed & power. The geographical setting is captured wonderfully and all adds to the powerfully pensive performance from Tony Servillo as the taciturn Titta Di Girolamo. Like a Shakespeare tragic hero, Di Girolamo has a fatal flaw and surely he cannot be allowed to enjoy the benefits of his criminal past? But will the challenge come from Olivia Magnani's captivating barmaid Sofia or his former employers?
The film loses its way a little toward the end, when it almost changes genre, and that's the only reason that I'm not giving it 5 stars.
It is however more than worthy of 4 stars and is a clever, thoughtful and visually stunning story about redemption, liberation and love.
on 14 June 2006
Middle aged Italian loner (Servillo) has lived in a Swiss hotel for 8 years. He spends most his days in the cafe playing cards, and observing the guests with a scientific detachment.
One day (out of character) he decides to speak to an attractive bar maid, and then the disturbing secrets of his inner world come to light. Soon his world is turned upside down.
This movie is a slow-burning masterpiece. Easily the best movie I have seen in 2006.
on 14 September 2008
This is a thoughtful and evocative examination of loss, longing, and despair: loss of a life once lived; longing for an unattainable girl; and despair over an uncontrollable destiny. Chain smoking Titta endures his lonely existence in a quiet Swiss hotel with a stoic glumness until his long-suppressed desire for the hotel's bargirl is forced into the open. 'Perhaps sitting at this bar is the most dangerous thing I've ever done,' says Titta, prophetically. Then, in the third act, as Titta's actions bring everything to a head, he finally takes control - with dramatic results.
The movie's pacing is carefully, if a little self-consciously, managed and the direction and cinematography are always engrossing. It also boasts a marvellous soundtrack, segueing artfully from the Nymanesque to thumping electronica. Great stuff!
Definitely one to watch.
on 10 March 2010
I came to this film after picking it up as an impulse buy on a recent shopping trip and on the back of the good reputation of Artificial Eye as a distributor. I think of them as the equivalent of green spine Penguin Modern Classics, but hey, that's just me...
It's a very low key film which unfurls it's beauty like the blossoming of a spring daffodil. At its heart it's a love story with some very understated but excellent performances which quietly draw you in so that you really want to know much more about the characters. Of particular note was Olivia Magnani who was a new name to me but definitely one to watch. What I particularly liked about the film was the way it didn't insult your intelligence allowing you to work out exactly was going on. So an intelligent, beautifully acted and understated film. Don't expect fireworks just a film that will linger in the memory for a long time.
To say almost anything about the film is to risk spoiling it for the viewer. It is a film that moves slowly, building up its pace until a number of key decisive moments. It reminds me of a martial arts form where the pace increases as the exercise continues. If you like frequent and regular action then you may find it too slow, but it is not just some arthouse special where no-one does anything for 120 minutes. The acting is excellent without the frenetic approach of some Italian films, the photography and setting (Switzerland) are both wonderful. The director plays fair with the viewer - in the end everything gets an explanation.
This 2004 film written and directed by Neapolitan film-maker Paolo Sorrentino is (for me at least) a mightily impressive and highly creative watch. Here, we became acquainted with Sorrentino's vibrant and visually stylish approach in this mysterious tale of Toni Servillo's middle-aged (apparently) retired businessman, Titta di Giralamo, who is ensconced in a remote Swiss hotel and whose dark back-story Sorrentino reveals in a series of slow-moving, oblique, but compelling, narrative twists and turns. Sorrentino's visual style, co-created with regular cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, is simply stunning, comprising a mix of static, but beautifully framed, shots, unusual (often moving) camera angles and viewpoints, plus a now trademark number of fast-moving interludes (typically accompanied by a loud musical backdrop).
Indeed, The Consequences Of Love begins with one such mesmerising Sorrentino shot, as a (painfully) slow-moving walkway moves towards the camera, with Lali Puna's exquisite Scary World Theory playing in the background. Once installed in Titta's adopted hotel home, Sorrentino throws in a host of idiosyncratic characters and filmic touches, including an elderly couple of failed gamblers who are still intent to conning their fellow card-players (including Titta) and a glamorous receptionist, Sofia (played by Olivia Magnani, grand-daughter of Anna) who Titta (initially) tries to keep at arm's length in order not to involve her in his nefarious practices. Indeed, once it becomes clear that Titta's curious habit of receiving strange suitcases full of cash (which are then manually counted at a complicit nearby bank) are linked to shady Sicilians, I wondered whether Sorrentino's 'Love' in his film-title referred to any of our anti-hero's estranged wife and children (back in Rome), his new 'acquaintance' in Sofia or his other good Samaritan turn (revealed at the film's denouement).
Acting-wise, Servillo (as is the case in Il Divo) steals the show as the aloof, deadpan, secretive and idiosyncratic criminal middle-man, whose penchant for dark humour disguises the film's underlying serious themes ('It takes courage to die an extraordinary death'). Otherwise, Magnani is impressive as the dark-haired temptress, as is Adriano Giannini in a cameo role as Titta's dishevelled step-brother, Valerio. Similarly, Sorrentino has found a whole series of lived-in, menacing character actors to play his Mafiosi (whose blasé humour in the scenes with Titta is both hilarious and menacing).
Sorrentino has been accused of being something of a purveyor of style over substance and, whilst I would agree there is some truth in this, in Consequences Of Love (for me) he marries style and narrative very effectively - at times reminding me, particularly in his brilliant use of music and his attention to cinematic detail (take the car crash scene or the astonishing, concluding quarry scene), of that other master stylist, Sergio Leone.
On a final, more general point, I have an Italian friend who is frequently bemoaning the state of Italian cinema, but with fine recent films by (among others) Sorrentino, Daniele Luchetti, Giuseppe Piccione, Daniele Cipri, Matteo Garrone and Michelangelo Frammartino it seems to me to be in a pretty healthy state.