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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere)
Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere)
Seville Pictures // R
List Price: $19.99
Review by Todd Brown | posted August 1, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Sergio Castellito's Don't move has achieved a certain degree of international notoriety thanks to a pair of graphic rape scenes involving Penelope Cruz, scenes that have not surprisingly given many cause to question the sexual morals of a film that uses rape as the starting point of a 'loving' relationship.

To focus on whether the film's treatment of its thorny subject encourages or justifies violence against women, though understandable and even laudable on a certain level, is to entirely miss what Castellito has done here, however. Don't Move is a beautifully lyrical piece of work that is not at all concerned with addressing the moral issues at all, having started from the assumption - delivered by Castellito's lead character - that "We're all cruel. Some more, some less." That cruelty is a given and in this context Castellito's question is not 'Is this a good thing?' but 'How do we go about living if this is the case?'

Writer / director Castellito also takes the lead role of Timoteo, a surgeon in a busy hospital. One rainy night while he is on duty Timoteo's daughter is struck by a car, sustains major head injuries and is brought to the hospital for emergency surgery, surgery she most likely will not survive. As he paces restlessly in the hall outside the operating room Timoteo revisits the key moments of his life – the day his father left his family, the day of his father's funeral, the birth of his child, but mostly his stormy, long ago affair with Italia, an impoverished woman living in a literally disintegrating neighborhood lying somewhere between the hospital and his lavish seaside home. We see the day Timoteo meets Italia by chance when his car breaks down and she offers to let him use her phone. Later that day, having had a few drinks while waiting for the village mechanic to repair his car, he returns to Italia's home and rapes her. Later, on another day, he returns to apologize, putting the incident down to being drunk, but despite being sober compulsively rapes her a second time. Timoteo's visits become habitual and the tenor of them gradually change until Italia becomes a willing participant and the two fall in love. And while Castellito is certainly interested in what caused Timoteo's need for control and Italia's willingness to be subjugated in the first place he seems far more interested in saying simply, 'Look. People like this exist. With that being the case is it possible for them to carve out a happy life for themselves?'

Don't Move rides a pair of fantastic performances in the leads with Castellito and Cruz receiving Best Actor and Actress awards at the Italian Academy and European Film Awards. Cruz plays Italia in decidedly non-glamor mode. She is all awkwardness, bad teeth, bad hair and even worse makeup. When a famously beautiful woman goes out of her way to look ugly on camera it often gets written off as being award bait but there is far, far more to Cruz's performance than her appearance as she gives Italia a wild, almost feral quality, constantly frozen between fight and flight, constantly expecting disaster to strike. Castillito's Timoteo plays like a sadder, thinner, more expressive Jean Reno. While he lives in a near constant state of repression when not with Italia you can always sense the currents swirling just beneath the surface.

As impressive as Castellito is as an actor he is even moreso as a director. The film is shot in 2.35 scope and the man knows how to use the wide frame, staging every shot immaculately. The camera is constantly moving in graceful curves and crane shots abound. He handles the film's fractured timeline effortlessly, moving fluidly between Timoteo's memories and current events while never leaving the audience with any doubt where they are. Perhaps most importantly given the difficult subject matter the film is beautifully written with every character fully fleshed out; whether a large role or small every one of these people has a living, breathing reality.

The DVD
Video
Canada's Seville Pictures has done an excellent job with their DVD presentation. Anamorphic widescreen in the original aspect ratio, the transfer is perfectly clean and sharp with colors that pop, deep darks and solid contrasts. Castellito shoots some fantastic film and this DVD preserves his images beautifully.

Audio
The audio options are solid. You get the original Italian language track in 2.0 or 5.1 plus a French dub – also 2.0 or 5.1 – and your choice of English or French subtitles. The subtitles are clear and easy to read.

Extras
The extras are a little bit sparse but what is there is solid. You get international trailers, deleted scenes and a quality Making Of featurette. I would have liked to see a little bit more of Castellito discussing the themes of the film and the controversy it stirred up but this release is so good on every other level that you really can't fault Seville for simply going with what was readily available on the Extras front.

Final Thoughts
Don't Move is not without its flaws. It will anger some and I certainly can't fault those who take issue with the use of rape in the film. Not only does Timoteo never pay for his sins he actually seems to profit from them, something that will make anyone going into this looking for moral commentary squirm in their seats, while those on the feminist front will be angered by Italia's acceptance and eventual enjoyment of Timoteo's force. There is a legitimate issue there that is hard to set aside. But if you can do that and take the film on its own terms there is absolutely no disputing that Castellito has created a masterful piece of film.
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