Week 33 of 52 films I’ve never seen


Written & Directed by Dario Argento (based on an original script by Jim Agnew & Sean Keller)

Source: Digital.

Everybody lied to me… this film wasn’t so bad! Actually, I enjoyed it quite a bit! Okay, it was no classic Argento giallo… hell, it wasn’t even Sleepless (although I did love that one). But Giallo, the film that Argento himself walked away from in the days following the film’s post-production, the film that its star and co-producer Adrien Brody tried to have blocked from its own North American release, the film that left the producers scrambling under debts of thousands of dollars in unpaid dues, royalties, or god-knows-what-else (and who the hell cared?)… well, after all that, it’s honestly pretty damned entertaining. There’s more Argento in this Argento film that there has been in his last three efforts that I can remember, going back to (once again) Sleepless, which was actually his first attempted giallo comeback – after the abysmal and ill-conceived Phantom of the Opera remake. After Phantom, Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome was pretty fantastic, but it lacked the young energetic bravado of Opera or Inferno. It seemed Argento was phasing out the stylish thriller for far more gritty shenanigans – that is, until The Card Player came around, and it seemed clear that Argento was only interested in directing dull, television-style police thrillers. Or so-called “thrillers”. The fantastical style and influence of the gialli was appearing to have been evaporated from Argento’s filmmaking talents. So, what about Giallo, an obvious attempt to return to the roots of these stylish, violent, and sexual horror-thrillers? Well, if you’ll allow me to wrap around – it was no classic Argento, but on the flipside, it was no boring, flat, Card Player police flick, either. This one was… let’s call it enjoyably in-between. The plot is this: a young fashion model (Elsa Pataky) goes missing, and her older sister (Emmanualle Siegner) teams up with a mysterious Italian-American police investigator (Adrien Brody) to track her down. The plot throws us right into the middle of Brody’s investigation (interesting…), he seems to already know who may have abducted the young model – but he hasn’t cracked the case just yet. The violence is meaner here than it has been in the last couple of Argento’s thriller’s, giving this a harder edge, which is really good because along with the surprisingly brilliant art direction and Argento’s instinctive mis-en-scene (something else that had been missing form his films for a good while now), the film desperately needed these high points to balance off the nearly dumbfounding stupidity of the main villain. This villain, in fact, was actually just a bad idea. But the three leads are much too interesting to let this film go to waste, and Argento and the scriptwriters have some very nice ideas with these characters – mean, mysterious, beautiful, heroic, flawed, and ironic. Even if there are a couple of really dumb-ass plot points. But this was a good lesson for me – just because everyone else on the planet thinks a movie is absolutely terrible, it obviously won’t mean that I will. And hell, I might even recommend it. Might.

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By Darkside Releasing Posted in 52 Weeks

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