Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Open Roads ‘14: The Human Factor
know whenever a movie cop takes on one last case before retirement it is bound
to get complicated. It becomes especially uncomfortable for Inspector Adriano
Monaco when he investigates the lurid murder of a highly connected contractor,
while trying to repair his relationship with his daughter in Bruno Oliviero’s The Human Factor (trailer here), which screens
during the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual series, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema.
a cop and as a parent, Monaco goes strictly by the book. That has made it
difficult to bond with his daughter Linda, even after the untimely death of his
wife three years ago. Since then, Monaco has buried himself in desk work, but
his captain insists his tact and insight are needed for the murder of Mirko
Ullrich. A good friend of Milan’s political power-brokers, Ullrich was discovered
by his wife in a highly compromising and most certainly deceased condition.
suspicion falls on the not-too-terribly-broken-up Mrs. Ullrich, but Monaco and
his junior partner Carlo Levi soon follow a trail of clues to Milan’s
underworld of drugs and under-aged procurement. Meanwhile, Monaco continues to
neglect and inadvertently push away the oversensitive Linda, until her rebellion
precipitates a family crisis.
Oliviero employs the elements of film noir to tell an acutely personal family
drama, but the Ullrich case is still as serious as a heart attack. One cannot
help wonder what levels of tragic gravitas Toni Servillo might have brought to
Monaco, but Silvio Orlando rather deftly takes him in the completely opposite
direction. His Monaco is just a haggard shell of man, who barely has sufficient
force of will remaining to walk across the room.
is indeed something undeniably compelling about Orlando’s emotionally desiccated
performance. In contrast, Alice Raffaelli’s petulant Linda can be tough to
take, but that is probably rather true to the reality of late adolescence. For some
welcome added color, Giuseppe Battiston brings to mind a young, salty Depardieu
as the more pragmatic Levi, which is a good thing.
Oliviero and cinematographer Renaud Personnaz
maximize the seedy nocturnal vibe for all its worth. Even though most viewers
will probably guess exactly the general direction it is headed, the stylish
execution and distinctive performances still make Factor a trip worth watching. Recommended for fans of film noir and
Italian cinema, The Human Factor screens
this Thursday (6/5) and Friday (6/6) at the Walter Reade, as part of Open Roads
Labels: Italian Cinema, Open Roads '14