Πέμπτη, 8 Οκτωβρίου 2009

GIALLO (2009, DARIO ARGENTO)


The high point in the film comes midway in the form of Adrian Brody's childhood flashback: the camera heaves this side and that inside an amber-lit room as though floating in the air while a music box lullaby that brings back memories of Goblin's School at Night theme from Profondo Rosso chimes in the background. Other than that, the movie might as well have been called "Routine Slasher" because there's nothing that recalls the glorious days of the Italian giallo here, no wink or homage or black-gloved killer stalking distraught heroines in kitsch/chic apartments countryside villas and medieval architecture and certainly none of the Technicolor phantasmagoria Argento and his peers conjured on celluloid 30 years ago because anyone who has followed Argento's career knows he has been working in dark muted DV canvases for the past 10 years, this absence of style flooded with wooden acting bad English from non-English speaking actors and a script the sum of plot contrivance happenstance and logic jumps. Some will argue these have been staples of Argento's career and I will disagree because their place has always been peripheral to a certain grand guignol aesthetic by whose outrageousness, stylistic or otherwise, they have been always relegated to the margins. If Mother of Tears was a bold step in the direction of Phenomena's schizophrenic conclusion, this is a step backwards to the undistinguished workmanlike nature of Il Cartaio and Ti Piace Hitchcock. Everything here is generic. The score sounds like Batman Returns throwaways (Claudio Simonetti's absence is sorely felt), the villain is a curious mixture of pathetic and creepy, Argento's stylized violence is conspicuously absent. This is a serial killer movie trying to balance between crime procedural and slasher such as one may find in Lionsgate's STD catalogue. If you're looking for the giallo homage the title promises, you'll find it in Sleepless. This is a routine affair not worthy of the maestro's name or his fans' time and money and I say this with the affection of a longtime ardent follower.

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