What saves the film from being a complete dud is Argento's trademark gore making a true return for the first time in a long time.
Overall Giallo is a mess of a film that's best left for Argento completionists.
Not terrible but far from one of Argento's classics.
Just awful, I'd say avoid it.
Brody does some decent work concidering what he had to work with. And you might not recognize him at all times.
The ending, well, seems tacked on. Almost as if they ran out of money and knew that what they had in the can wouldn't work. Throw together a few scraps for the audience so they have some kind of resolution but it feels out of place.
Not a terrible film, but one expects more from a master of the genre like Argento.
Dario Argento has, over the last couple of decades, become a shadow of his former self, a parody of the director who gave us such classic gialli as Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, and Four Flies on Grey Velvet, three of the finest mysteries ever committed to celluloid. More recent efforts-The Card Player, Mother of Tears, Do You Like Hitchcock?, etc.-have been, at best, silly and derivative. Which made Giallo something of a pleasant surprise. While it is in no way up to, or even close to, the standards Argento set for giallo films in the seventies, it's some of his best work in at least the past two decades.
Plot: a crazed killer, known only as Yellow (Adrien Brody, sporting some fun facial prosthetics) because of his advanced jaundice, uses his job as a taxi driver to abduct beautiful women, take them to his basement torture chamber, and do nasty things to them. His latest victim is Celine (Snakes on a Plane's Elsa Pataky), a supermodel whose sister, Linda (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly's Emmanuelle Seigner), has just gotten into town to see her. Linda enlists the help of a New York detective, Enzo Avolfi (also played by Brody), in trying to find the killer before Celine's life is forfeit.
It has been noted in a few reviews that despite the movie's name, this isn't really a giallo. It does have a number of the hallmarks of the genre (most notably, there's no real motive for the killer to do what he does, he's just nuts), but it does come off more as a mystery/thriller with a couple of moments that tread in torture porn territory. This is not necessarily a bad thing; Argento's attempts at making gialli recently have been pretty miserable failures. It's also Argento's first feature on which he wasn't the principal writer; this turned out to be a very good idea indeed, as the script, especially the final twist (something I can't imagine Argento doing, which made it a double whammy), is markedly superior to Argento's recent efforts. Brody plays the killer very well, overacting very nicely in comparison to the brooding, mumbling detective (I've seen some criticism of Brody's portrayal of the detective, but I had no problems with him here), and while Seigner doesn't turn in her best effort, she does well enough. While you would be better served watching one of Argento's seventies classics again, this isn't terrible. ** 1/2
Adrien Brody plays dual roles; melodramatic but at least passable as the detective, but absolutely abysmal as the rasping voiced, grotesquely deformed killer, angry due to the nickname "yellow" (not giallo, the Italian version which gives its name to the film and would make more sense). The only other performance of note is Emmanuelle Seigner as the girl whose sister is taken by Giallo. She is also terrible. One thing that is usually redeeming in any Argento film is the violence; stylish set pieces and inventive gore have littered his career throughout. Think of the classic scenes: the opening double murder of Suspiria, the elevator decapitation of Deep Red, even the train murder of Cat O' Nine Tails. Even when the film isn't firing on all cylinders, you can at least expect a brilliant set piece to redeem it slightly. Not in Giallo; just a series of grungy torture scenes in dim rooms, with an emphasis on nasty gore over style. The big confrontation is a lame rooftop meeting that lasts all of thirty seconds, and the ending, which could redeem it, is one of the most anticlimactic, pointless endings I've ever seen on a horror film. It makes the ending to 80's effort Phenomena look genius in comparision.
If you're a diehard Argento fan, avoid this film, to avoid seeing the master of horror reduced to making cheap, sleazy, depressing tortue films with no merit. If you're looking into Argento films, check out his late 60's and 70's output to see some horror masterpieces. If you're a torture fan, go watch The Horseman or The Loved Ones, to see how a torture film should be done. Unless you're a strong Adrien Brody fan, just avoid Giallo full stop.