An easy film to recommend but a hard one to write about. That’s mostly because much of the power of The Consequences of Love derives from director Paolo Sorrentino’s playful decision to disguise what the film is all about. In fact it’s not even clear what genre he’s dealing with until a long way in. But a genre film it is, and the eventual realisation just which one director Sorrentino is toying with will either have you throwing hands up to heaven or kicking your legs into the air with joy. It starts as it means to go on – a long establishing shot of an empty moving walkway in an airport. Though this is beautifully framed, as the entire film is, the shot itself establishes nothing at all. Similarly there’s the film’s main character, the marvellously inert Toni Servillo who plays Titta, a name as stupid in Italian as it is in English. Titta is a long-term resident in an anodyne hotel in one of the world’s most antiseptic countries, Switzerland. He’s a man of few words, and those largely take the form of impenetrable or blindingly obvious aphorisms (“Shy people notice everything but they don’t get noticed”) whose unchanging routine includes a weekly delivery of a mysterious suitcase and his Wednesday morning ritual of injecting himself with heroin and blissing out. An initially incongruous element in a film which only declares itself fully as it heads flat out for the sort of ending Quentin Tarantino might deliver if he were mainlining Hieronymous Bosch. The Consequences of Love is a long cinematic joke, really, but a cool, dry, funny one.
© Steve Morrissey 2006