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The Consequences of Love

July 9, 2014

The Consequences of Love (2004)
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Actors: Toni Servillo, Olivia Magnani, Adriano Giannini

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Synopsis: Mysterious middle-aged Italian businessman, Titta (Toni Servillo), is holed up in a Swiss hotel over a number of years. He keeps a low profile, interacts very infrequently with the staff and his fellow guests, and his only outward activity is to deliver a suitcase of cash to a bank once a week….

Review: The rich and sophisticated cinematic palette of Paolo Sorrentino first came to global acclaim with this, a gorgeously bittersweet fable about a man seemingly undergoing some form of slowburn spiritual crisis in an blandly unassuming Swiss lakeside location.

All the Sorrentino hallmarks are on show here – his extrovert, roving use of cinematography to tell the story, his proclivity to baroque characterisations, the mesmeric presence of Toni Servillo, and all scored by a gentle undertow of melancholy. I was particularly reminded of just how great a storyteller Sorrentino is – he’s happy to let the narrative backstory trickle out organically and only emerge to full effect in the final act, and he tells that story as much through mood, sentiment and image than through a narrator’s more conventional tool of dramaturgy. I’d argue that the ending to The Consequences of Love is a touch too clever and sentimentally calculating as Titta’s seeming demise is accorded a moral tinge, but Sorrentino was able to work these kinks out in his increasingly richer and more far-reaching works: Il DivoThis Must Be the Place, and most memorably, The Great Beauty. (July 2014)

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