Starring: Toni Servillo, Olivia Magnani, Adriano Giannini
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Running Time: 100 mins
The Consequences Of Love (Le conseguenze dell’amore) is an Italian film about an introverted man and his secretive life inside a hotel, as he develops an unexpected affection for a young barmaid working there.
Director Paolo Sorrentino’s unique filmmaking style always makes for a striking watch, and so it proves in his deeply atmospheric drama The Consequences Of Love, a film that might not look like much at first glance, but plugs away with a thrilling ambiguity that combines with an enthrallingly complex atmosphere to make for an engrossing watch throughout.
Let’s start off with Sorrentino’s style, easily the film’s strongest point. While some viewers are averse to slow, quiet films, there’s no hiding from the way that Sorrentino is able to so quickly engross you in this story, with a piercing intensity emanating from that very silence and patient pacing, immediately grabbing your attention and alerting you to the fact that this is no ordinary story.
So, while it may come across as slow, quiet and calm at first, The Consequences Of Love is anything but, with a powerful intensity and conflict bubbling subtly throughout, yet having an undeniable impact on the film’s atmosphere and ever-intensifying stakes throughout.
Another big plus here comes in the form of the story itself, which ingeniously uses ambiguity and vagueness to craft drama and intrigue throughout. It’s not a typical mystery as you may expect it, but as so many of the plot’s major details are shrouded in secrecy from the very start, most notably our main character’s occupation, that slow and mysterious nature is exactly what makes the film so engrossing, and with every little revelation throughout, it all becomes an even more captivating watch as you try to decipher what’s really going on.
Along with Sorrentino’s striking direction and a strong screenplay, the lead performance from Toni Servillo plays a big role in the film’s mysterious intrigue and intensity. With a quiet, often near-silent, turn throughout, Servillo carries across all the facets of a man hiding something deeper, making him a fascinating and deeply enigmatic presence at every moment. However, while he helps to make the film’s mystery all the more intrigue, his performance is also so ice cool and charismatic that you can’t help but really like him, even if there is an ambiguous darkness looming over his personal history and identity.
As a result, when the film turns its focus to his deeper emotions, and becomes more of an intimate character study than a simple mystery, you have a strong enough connection to the main character to make that side of the story work just as well, something that was great to see towards the film’s finale in particular.
Having said all that, I still have to say that I found The Consequences Of Love somewhat of an underwhelming watch in the end. The mystery and intrigue in the opening stages is such that you create such a vivid impression of your own ideas about the man’s identity, and for me, the period of the film that brings you closer to knowing the truth proved a disappointing twist in the tale.
It’s undoubtedly original, and I didn’t see it coming by any means, but on the basis of the atmosphere and story that Sorrentino had created in the film’s opening half, I was personally unsatisfied with the direction the film took towards the end, ending The Consequences Of Love on a little bit of a disappointing note following a riveting and striking opening half, and that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.4 overall.