Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Germany/Italy/USA/France/United Kingdom, 2002. Miramax, X-Filme Creative Pool, Mirage Enterprises, Noé Productions. Screenplay by Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Cinematography by Frank Griebe. Produced by Stefan Arndt, Frederique Dumas-Zajdela, William Horberg, Maria Kopf, Anthony Minghella. Production Design by Uli Hanisch. Costume Design by Monika Jacobs. Film Editing by Mathilde Bonnefoy. National Board of Review Awards 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
When celebrated filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski passed away in 1995, he left behind him a proposed trilogy that began with the screenplay for this film. Tom Tykwer picked up the project in Kieslowski’s absence and directed this probing drama about an Englishwoman living in Italy (Cate Blanchett) who bombs a building in order to get revenge on a drug lord whom she blames for her husband’s death. Unfortunately, her plan goes awry and four innocent people are killed instead. After being arrested she catches the eye of a sympathetic police officer (a convincing Giovanni Ribisi) who risks his career to help her escape. While the story is sensitive and challenging, Tykwer’s direction lacks the skill to bring out the more spiritual themes in Kieslowski’s work, numbing the viewer with its spiritual elements instead of letting them feel like a natural part of the story (in short, Kieslowski always averred that films are made in editing, not writing, and this film is a great example). Performances are excellent, but the story drags towards the centre and never really redeems itself by the film’s conclusion.