Friday, June 12, 2009

[Italian Film Fest] Almost Blue

There's a serial killer loose in the Italian city of Bologna, and from the get go, we're introduced to the aftermath of a very brutal killing in the hands of a psycho, with a preference for extremely loud music played through his headphones. I thought the killer here is very much like the one in the 2004 film Taking Lives starring Ethan Hawke and Angelina Jolie, where the murderer lingers and adopts the persona of the person he kills, before moving onto the next victim.

In essence this is your classic cat and mouse thriller that explores the links between the three leads in rookie policewoman Grazia (Lorenza Indovina), the psycho killer played by Rolando Ravello to Aamir-Khan-Ghajini's crazed perfection, and the blind man Simone (Claudio Santamaria), who gets caught up in the entire episode because he wilds his time away at his computer listening in to chatrooms, police scanners and what have yous, like an online busybody oracle. In doing so, he puts himself unwittingly in the line of fire as the killer decides to make him the next target. And so the premise is set, and I felt there's a truck load of potential here to at least live up to average thriller expectations.

There was what I thought a perfect moment set up in allowing the audience's imagination to run wild with one killing - you can hear audible sighs of sorrow when the killer picks his mark, because while the character was nothing more than a supporting one, appearing only to nag, everyone understood instantly the impact it is going to have in the story moving on. The aftermath of that was nothing short of poignant, and that hammered home the notion of how evil is as evil can be.

If there's a major letdown in the exciting build-up, it's how everything gets wrapped up in the end too conveniently and in major anti-climatic fashion. Big clue being the need to adopt the persona, and having everyone turn up at the right place at the right time, with room for some sexy time thrown in as well for good measure, just because it's Gialli. It turned what could have been room for a tight, climatic finale into a joke of convenience probably stemming from a lack of ideas. Great build-up, but terrible finale.

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