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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Remo Girone, Stefania Rocca, Alessandro Sperduti
Director: Tom Tykwer

Philippa Paccard (Cate Blanchett) is an English teacher living and working in Italy. Her husband dies from a drug overdose and her students are becoming drug addicts. After many unsuccessful attempts to alert the Italian police about the drugs situation and the man she believes to be the mastermind behind the whole operation, she decides to kill the man herself. Philippa plants a bomb in his office but due to the fateful timing of a cleaning lady, the bomb does not kill her target, but kills the cleaning lady and three other people instead. The police arrest Philippa for the murders, and during her interrogation Filippo (Giovanni Ribsi) her translator begins to fall in love with her and decides to help her get her target and escape as well. All these events culminate in a unique showdown with the police.

Cate Blanchett gives a perfect performance as a person who has decided to take justice into her own hands and is ready to face the punishment for her actions. The role of the translator Filippo is convincingly played by Giovanni Ribisi as a young man who has had his first taste of love and as such does all he can to help the object of his affection. Filippo’s father played by Remo Girone is excellent and particularly handles his son’s departure in a very realistic manner – loving his son so completely that he would let him leave even though he knows he may never see him again. Director Tom Tykwer pushes the film ahead confidently utilising the actors to their full potential and maintaining the dark, sombre mood of the film throughout and the production handled in part by Anthony Minghella (director of THE ENGLISH PATIENT) keeps the film well balanced. The photography in this film is excellent and perfectly compliments the mood of the film while the soundtrack is kept to a relaxing minimum of a few piano and violin notes.

So what can be wrong with this movie? Well unfortunately it’s ruined at the end by a strange conclusion that defies the reality that the film initially tries to portray, but other than that it is a fairly entertaining slice of dark, moody, although rather slow thrills.

3 out of 6 stars