The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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in making us wonder whether the gross incompetence on display here is his true face or yet another of his masks, Argento may have found himself a new mode of directorial cat-and-mouse.
Argento's latest giallo in English is frustratingly conventional and pointless, with actors who are oddly inexpressive and a plot that cannot even justify its existence, while he never displays the directing skills that made him such a respected cult filmmaker in the first place.
Dario Argento's latest offering has been absolutely torn to shreds by fans and critics so I wasn't expecting much from this at all but I ended up enjoying it a lot more than others seemed to. The story is fairly straightforward which has a New York FBI agent based in Turino on the trail of a killer who has bern kidnapping and murdering pretty foreign women. It's a pretty violent film with a real vicious streak to it so it racks up a decent amount of bloody content. The film has a good pace and is never boring and always on the move. You can't help but laugh at the killer though with his strong resemblance to John Rambo lol! The films ending was a little anti-climactic unfortunately, it could have gone out with a bit more of a bang or a plot twist. I found this one better than Argento's previous two films, especially The Card Player. It's not great but it still has entertainment value.
Cast: Adrien Brody, Elsa Pataky, Emmanuelle Seigner, Bryon Deidra, Robert Miano, Luis Molteni, Taiyo Yamanouchi
Director: Dario Argento
Summary: Adrien Brody stars as Insp. Enzo Avolfi, who trails a sadistic serial killer in this thriller from Italian horror master Dario Argento. As the mutilated bodies of beautiful women litter Milan, Avolfi races to find the latest abductee. When Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner) reports her fashion model sister Celine (Elsa Pataky) missing, Avolfi knows the death clock ticks. Now he must step into madness to stop the psychopath (Bryon Deidra).
My Thoughts: "Wow, this was kinda, no it was, bad. No thrill, no scare, not even a decent killer. The music was bad too. A bit dramatic when it wasn't needed. The acting...well it just wasn't great either and I was so surprised that Adrien Brody could read this script and come to the conclusion that it was worth his talent. I can just assume he needed the money cause this has to be the worse film I have seen him in. This was a big miss in every way."
Even the worst Dario Argento films have managed to at least get DVD releases in the past decade or so, so the fact that Giallo was filmed two years ago and is still unreleased in most of the world aside from a handful of badly received festival screenings where it was laughed off the screen doesn't exactly fill you with confidence. It may not be the director's favorite film by a long shot - despite the misleading 'written and directed by' credit, he was simply a director for hire with the script written by the separately credited Jim Agnew and Sean Keller with the producers apparently no longer returning his phone calls - but it's fair to say that it's a long way from being his worst, thankfully never descending to the depths of Phantom of the Opera or the lacklustre The Card Player. Unfortunately it's also not especially good.
The story is serviceable enough, with model Elsa Pataky abducted by a deformed serial killer who likes to take his time destroying beautiful things and her frantic sister (a haggard Emmanuelle Seigner) teaming up with Adrian Brody's broody Italian-American cop to find her while there's still enough of her to find. Despite the set-up, it avoids going the Eli Roth torture porn route, but there are few of Argento's signature flourishes. Not only are the gloves literally off but the film's one 'big' death scene is nothing to write home about: just a simple fall from a tall building. Worse, a couple of minor twists aside, the plot just plods along with not much happening until the last half hour before a last scene that feels like it was tacked on not so much to give the film a happy ending but because what you suspect was the original ending didn't pack enough of a punch.
While it's generally better executed, there are fewer ideas to play with than his less than impressive Mother of Tears, and what there are are fairly familiar cop movie clichés. True, Adrien Brody's lone cop does have a rather neat backstory explaining why he has a talent for tracking down predatory killers, but the early hints of having a damaging Will Graham-like empathy with his killer come to nothing despite Brody playing both hunters because they're such wildly different performances linked only by silly voices (a grizzled Jack Nicholson-Mickey Rourke hybrid for the cop and an Italian Quasimodo for the killer). It's probably the killer's voice that provided the lion's share of the laughs to those derisive festival audiences, but Brody Methodically overdoes the tortured doleful looks as the cop, at times looking like the Eighth Dwarf, Goatee, after Snow White bit the apple.
On the plus side, thanks to Frederic Fasano's cinematography it's the best-looking Argento film in years. It's not a return to the extreme and vivid colors of the Suspiria years but it's a welcome move away from the pallid and lifeless look of many of his latter movies to something with a bit more warmth to its color scheme and a good eye for the Turin locations. But overall, despite all the Argento touchstones the writers incorporated in the screenplay, it's a rather soft by-the-numbers effort that could have been made by almost any capable director whose heart wasn't quite in it but still tried to make the best of what he had to work with. You won't have trouble making it through to the end, but you won't have trouble sleeping after seeing it either.
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