Director: PAOLO SORRENTINO
ITALY 2004 SUBTITLED COLOUR ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 35MM 100 MIN
The Consequences of Love is the film that established Sorrentino’s international reputation by wowing the most discerning critics at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. What impresses from the opening shot is the film’s brilliant sense of style. Shooting in widescreen with his now regular cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, Sorrentino makes stunning use of colour and space, with the sleek visuals accompanied by a hip techno-based soundtrack that’s just part of a highly sophisticated sound design. In fact, at first the film might seem to be too insistently stylish for its own good, but it soon becomes apparent that Sorrentino’s formal strategies are entirely suited to exploring the mysteries surrounding his very peculiar central character, a detached, immaculately groomed middle-aged misfit who’s holed up in a Swiss hotel.
Beautifully played by Toni Servillo, Titta de Girolamo is a moneyman in the employ of a sinister Mafia group. As punishment for some financial misdemeanour, he has spent eight years as a virtual prisoner in this sterile place, charged only with making regular cash deposits at a local bank. Disdainful of other people and seemingly devoid of emotion, this strange little man turns out to have secrets, including an addiction to heroin. He also hankers after the hotel’s beautiful barmaid, Sofia (Olivia Magnani), and when she responds to his curiosity, prompting him to make moves against his oppressors, Titta’s world is turned upside down. What starts out as a cool character study takes a turn into the realms of the romantic crime thriller, and Sorrentino ends with another of his surprisingly affecting codas, which doesn’t so much tie up loose ends as shed fresh light on everything that precedes it. Peter Walsh.