Deep into the Swiss Alps. A small town, an elegant yet secluded hotel, a man looking through a foggy window. At a luxury coffee table, in a miniature ashtray, a cigarette is slowly burning. The man is dressed in an expensive rather trendy Italian suit. He gradually adjusts his tie and picks up a hefty traveling bag. In the hotel's underground garage, at the very end of an enormous parking area a car with Swiss plates is wrapped up in a protective cover. The man takes off the cover and gently puts the bag into the trunk of an immaculately looking BMW 745. A bag containing approximately twenty five million dollars in cash. Minutes later he stops at a private garage of a well known Swiss bank. The man is escorted into a private elevator that takes him straight into an office resembling an interrogation room. There are no windows, only a table, a few chairs, and a small group of bank clerks ready to count the money. The man with the bag has specifically requested that all money must be counted by hand. He leaves the bag on the table and walks off to the opposite corner of the room. No one speaks and the silence in the room is as heavy as the man's fashionable glasses. He is tired, old, and perhaps a bit apathetic. The man has been living in the same hotel room, driving the same immaculately looking BMW, and caring the same bag for more than eight years.
Paolo Sorrentino's latest film Le Conseguenze dell'Amore (The Consequences of Love) is a stylishly looking thriller that has all the right ingredients to keep you on the edge of your seat guessing until the final credits roll. Its quiet yet deeply atmospheric feel reminded me about David Lynch and the manner in which his films always keep you wondering what direction the story will follow. On the other hand the flashy yet abrupt camera moves seemed reminiscent of Run Lola Run's urgency to bring some sort of resolution.
In Le Conseguenze dell'Amore the use of long continuous shots seems almost as important as the use of silence. The main protagonist Titta (Toni Servillo), a lonely man suffering from severe insomnia, and his marvelous face expressions convinced me yet again that good acting does not necessitate dialog. The range of emotions that Titta was going through and the silent rage eating his body were perfectly mastered by Toni Servillo and his camera presence. In addition, the minimalist style of the film was well supported by an excellent camera work that if anything felt a bit too polished at times.
Shown at competition at the Cannes Film Festival Le Conseguenze dell'Amore is the second film (the other one being the Danish Camera d'Or winner Reconstruction) that impressed me with an extremely engaging, made for adults, story. The script to the film is well composed, the acting strong, and the soundtrack complimenting rather well the moody feel of the film. It truly feels as if the viewer is placed in one of those chic, ultra snobbish, relaxing lounges so common for large metropolitan European cities. With this said, it was no surprise to me that the soundtrack to the film features such well known downtempo-artists as Filla Brazillia, Boards of Canada, James, and Mogwai.
It is refreshing to see that so many new directors are looking to experiment with unusual at times quite edgy scripts bringing new life to an otherwise lethargic film market. Le Conseguenze dell'Amore is not only a stylish spectacle to behold it is an elegant tale that will spur quite a few "what if" long after you have seen the final credits. While the title is a bit misleading, I suppose intentionally, as the film is anything but a sugary romantic melodrama it certainly supports the fact that every action causes a reaction. A smart, moody, and above all beautifully executed film.
How Does the Disc Look?
Released by Medusa Home Video-Italy Le Conseguenze dell'Amore offers a near superb anamorphic transfer. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with excellent contrast, beautiful colors, and a print that is practically free of any imperfections. The disc is encoded PAL Region-2 and offers optional Italian, French, and English subtitles.
How Does the Disc Sound?
In one word-excellent! Medusa have provided a very active yet perfectly balanced 5.1 Italian soundtrack, which I am absolutely satisfied with given the delicate use of silence in the film. The atmospheric tracks by Filla Brazillia, Boards of Canada, James, est. are mixed perfectly.
Unfortunately none of the extras on this disc are English friendly. Regardless, given the fact that it is highly unlikely that Le Conseguenze dell'Amore will see a R1 release any time soon, if at all, the lack of English subs for the extras should not discourage you from seeking out this disc. The following extras are present:
Inzio Alternativo: Il Funerale. -An Alternative ending to the film.
L'uomo con la valigia. –On the cutting floor of Le Conseguenze dell'Amore.
Le Conseguenze dell'Amore: Un Commento critico. –The critics and the film.
Le affinita misteriose. –A conversation with Toni Servillo.
Scene tagliate. –five deleted scenes
Olivia Magnani: Breve ritrato. –An Interview with Olivia Magnani.
Galleria Fotografica. –Photo Gallery
Paolo Sorrentino's second film Le Conseguenze dell'Amore is a deeply emotional and engaging story that will appeal to those that like intelligent cinema with a touch of spice. I am not aware if a North American release will appear any time soon therefore this extremely well-made DVD by Medusa Home Video is an excellent opportunity for those of you wishing, and more importantly willing, to explore. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.