Studio: Hannibal Pictures
Starring: Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner, Elsa Pataky, Robert Miano
Directed by: Dario Argento
Running Time: 92 min.
Synopsis: An Inspector is trying to catch a killer who drives a taxi cab and kidnaps women and kills them.
Dario Argento has always been one of my favorite directors. He has made many classic films such as The Bird with Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Suspiria, Tenebre, and the list goes on and on. His newest film Giallo is far from a classic. It is not the caliber of his other films, although the film isn’t terrible, but it is not good either. The film is decent and has some moments, but like other recent Argento films, the question is, has the master of horror lost his touch?
The film is about a killer who drives a taxicab in Rome and kidnaps beautiful foreign woman, drugs them, mutilates them, and then finally murders them. A French flight attendant, Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner), sister is kidnapped by the killer. She gets help from an inspector, Enzo (Adrien Brody), who has been hot on the trail of the killer, but he is unsuccessful in finding him. Bodies and clues start popping up over town and Enzo hopes that he can find the murderer before he kills Linda’s sister.
The film does have its moments, especially during the opening. The movie opens up with two Japanese girls at an opera, who get bored and decided to leave and go to a club. One of the girls gets lucky while the other one gets bored with the club and leaves. Part of the opening reminds me of classic Argento. The colors in the set design, the camera shots, and there is even a scene where the girl is walking outside from the club and on to the street as lightning flashes. It reminded me a bit of the opening to Suspiria. Then the girl gets into a cab, which turns out to be the killer and she becomes one of his victims. After that the film starts to get boring.
I have to say Brody and Seigner do a good job in their roles, but after the opening the film just starts to drag for a while. Luckily it starts to pick up towards the end and gets a little bit better. There are some scenes in the film where I was thinking, WTF! I don’t want to give anything away, so I will just leave it at that. The ending, which I won’t give away as well, but I will just say it was very anticlimactic and could have been a lot better.
Argento’s last film before Giallo was Mother of Tears, which I didn’t much care for either. Not sure which film I dislike most, but both of them have their moments, but the majority is not good at all. Also since the film is called Giallo, I thought it was going to be a throwback to some of Argento’s earlier films, but it is not called Giallo because of the Italian sub genre, it is called Giallo because the killer’s face is yellow and giallo is yellow in Italian.
I have read that Argento was not happy with the way the film came out and does not want to be associated with it. There was more backlash within the film, when Adrien Brody sued the filmmakers because he did not get fully paid. He even wanted to prevent the film from releasing on DVD until he gets his full salary. Not sure if he got his money yet, because I saw the movie on video on demand, which is not DVD, but it is still out there for the public to see and would think Brody wouldn’t want it on video on demand either, but maybe they came to a settlement.
So, has Dario Argento lost his touch? With his recent films that have come out in the last ten years it looks like all signs point to yes. That seems to be the case with a lot of other horror filmmakers from the 70’s and 80’s, where their films of today are just not as good. Maybe they just don’t have the passion anymore and just phone their directing in and just pick up a paycheck. I am hopeful that Argento can make another classic. I just hope it will be sooner than later. As for Giallo, it is worth checking out at least once, if you are a rabid Argento fan, but be prepared to be disappointed.