Don’t Move (2004)

SERGIO CASTELLITTO

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

Original title:  Non ti muovere

Italy/Spain/United Kingdom, 2004, , , Alquimia Cinema, The Producers Films, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali.  Screenplay by , Sergio Castellitto, based on the novel by Margaret MazzantiniCinematography by Produced by , , Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by .

is a successful physician who one days wanders into a run-down neighbourhood and finds himself needing to borrow the telephone of a poor young woman (Penelope Cruz). Following a rough sexual attack in her grimy apartment, the two of them become lovers, he obsessed with brutalizing her and she finding herself more and more drawn to an obsession with his presence. All this happens while Castellitto’s wife waits at home patiently for him, oblivious to the dirty secret being created at the centre of her marriage. Many critics balked at the misogynistic overtones of this film, particularly in its totally unsavoury presentation of a sadomasochistic relationship, but what is really going in is an exploration of the strange places where connection and comfort can occur. Cruz plays her character with such a defiant lack of vanity, and with so much humane sympathy, that it is impossible to write her off as a male writer’s virulent, damaging fantasy, even though it’s quite easy to see the film as an exploration of that very thing. The real drawback is bad direction by Castellitto himself, who lets a film without a central core or heart go on much longer than it needs to, saved only by his leading lady’s fascinating performance.

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