At the crux of the plot's problem is a supremely stupid act that Blanchett's character carries out. The illogic of the screenwriters is mind-boggling and turned me off right away. Here it is (spoiler alert):
How can Blanchett, who plays a teacher and a smart woman, so badly miscalculate that her bomb will not create collateral damage?
From there, the rest of the movie seems ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the silly ending -- a helicopter as deus ex machina. Can you say ludicrous?
Director: Tom Tykwer
Summary: Deeply disappointed by law enforcement's lax investigation following her husband's drug-related death, Philippa Paccard (Cate Blanchett) takes the law into her own hands and ends up imprisoned in this moody romantic drama from director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi), a police officer involved with Philippa's questioning, falls in love with her and helps her escape, as they flee together to the Tuscan countryside.
My Thoughts: "The film has a beautiful back drop. The concept was interesting but failed to succeed in delivering a great thriller. Since there is little character development, you don't develop enough emotions for these character's to really care what happens. I wasn't convinced of the romance between Philppa and Flippo. I didn't see the right kind of chemistry brewing for them to make me believe they could be in love. When Flippo's father asks Philippa if she loves his son, I was so certain she would say no. But besides the lack of chemistry, there was a lack of action. I get the quiet thriller aspect of it, but there could have been a little bit more going on to keep the interest. It's a slow burning, but visually beautiful thriller that some will have the patience for where other's will try to stay awake to finish it. But as usual, Cate and Giovanni give stellar performances."
From there the story flows. That is the opening, what follows is an interrogation heavy second act, and a moody poetic third act. Interestingly the tone is maintained, and what is created is a singular vision, where everything meshes.
Phillipa leaves a bomb in a building to kill a man. Things don't go as planned, and 4 innocents end up dead. She was prepared to sacrifice her life for justice, this man was responsible for her husband and students death, now she has committed evil in order to stop it. Her grief is staggering.
While being interrogated a young cop falls in love with her. He helps her escape. She only agrees so that she can kill the man, she doesn't want to escape punishment. Killing him is atonement for the death of 4 innocents on top of the revenge quotient.
The young cop, Fillipo, escapes from the city with her. He tells her that he loves her. He looks at her with such longing, and assuredness. The type of love which needs to reason or explanation, something felt so deeply and completely he feels at one with her.
And by the end they do seem to be one. With both of their heads shaved, and wearing te same clothes. With few words spoken between them, and none directly about what they feel, you believe it. When you have given up your life for another, what greater love can there be? It needs no words, because words wouldn't do the feeling justice.
Cate Blanchette is phenomenal. She is perhaps the finest actress of this generation. She has such power, and is compelling, while playing her character straight. She never milks a scene, or tried to evoke a response. She is natural and resolute. Giovanni Ribisi is also one of the most underappreciated character actors around. His performance is subtle and restrained, and remarkably perfected.
The ending is poetic, but allows te characters to sidestep their penance foe their crimes, they've killed a man together, and she an extra four. Does falling in love grant you asylum from your sins? As they float up, you wonder how high they can go, before the weight of their past drags them down.