Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dario Reborn?: Giallo (2009)

I am curious Giallo.  Today's Film is Giallo, a Title that works on a couple of levels.  If you don't know, Giallo is the name for a Sub-Genre of Films that were very popular in the 60s and 70s.  One of the most famous Directors of this Genre- Dario Argento.  Wouldn't you know it, he Directed this one too!  Why Giallo?  Well, Giallo is the Italian word for 'yellow' (explains the opening pun, huh?) and the old, Pulp Crime Novels that inspired these Films tended to get paper that quickly turned yellow (since it was so cheap).  It is a stretch of the imagination to get there, but I don't question the Italians.  This Genre gave us many great Films and even more great Film Titles (with sub-par Films).  Highlights include The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Killer Must Kill Again and The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave.  Good stuff.  For this Film, Giallo takes on its more literal translation as it describes the killer.  It is not the return of That Yellow Bastard- sadly.  The Story involves a yellow-ish Killer in Italy who kidnaps and kills women.  Can a Detective with a dark past and the Sister of the current victim put an end to his crime spree?  I should note that the Film is sadly more famous for a Lawsuit filed by its Star (Adrien Brody) over an alleged pay dispute.  Bummer.  Can I help turn it around?  Probably not, but here's my attempt...
A mysterious maniac is loose in the City and he kidnaps women while driving his Taxi (Van).
After catching and torturing a Japanese Tourist (diversity!), he kidnaps a Model (Elsa Pataky).

Yes, before she was the most mistreated Character in Fast & Furious Franchise (seriously, she is constantly screwed over!), she was in a Dario Argento Film.
The woman's Sister had just come into town and presses the issue of her disappearance.  She ends up meeting...
...this sad, mopey Detective (Brody).  He works alone (since you can do that in Italy, I guess) and is super-obsessed with the case.  He is initially-hesitant of working with the woman and has...
...a sad, dark back-story involving the death of his Mother in front of him and stuff I won't SPOIL.
While the killer is all sorts of crazy, he too has a dark back-story.  In his case, it is being abandoned by a Junkie of a Mother and abused by Nuns.

To add to the parallel structure of this, both roles are played by Brody.
Working about as close to outside the law as you can get, Brody and the Sister find out that the killer is yellow (due to Jaundice) and needs lots of medical treatment.  Who cares about Doctor-Patient Confidentiality after all?
Can the pair rescue the Model and bring the killer to justice?  Sorry- no SPOILERS.  The End.
Not bad at all.  Like most of his recent work, this Argento Film got alot of haters...and don't quite get it.  To be fair, it was weird to see an Argento Film which was more about already knowing the identity of the killer from the get-go.  The Story is different than what he usually does.  Mind you, there is a reason: he didn't Write it.  He apparently had some sort of dispute with the Producers and doesn't like the official Cut of the Film.  Having only seen this one, I have nothing to compare it to...so this one is fine.  Putting that aside, the Story is fine, the Acting is good and the tone is appropriately-dark.  Alot of people seem to attack this one for delving into 'Torture Porn' territory, but I disagree.  It may be closer to that idea than other Argento Films, but it isn't exactly a huge departure.  There is some freaky stuff in other Argento Films, be it the mouth-sewing in Pelts, the Barbed Wire Room in Suspiria or the super-bloody Climax to Tenebrae.  It is not like he made Disney-style Films and is now making dark stuff.  I'll also point out that alot of the really gross stuff is implied and not actually shown.  Overall, I liked the Film.  It isn't so great that I think it will dissuade Argento's haters, but it is good enough for me to defend.  Watch it and decide for yourself.  If my words don't convince you, how about an Audio Version...
Next up, I return to the Sons of Kong set with another White Gorilla movie.  This isn't Stock Footage, so it is already better.  Stay tuned...

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