Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Crush on Italy

Cinema is a Franco-American invention, but was there ever a country that the movie camera loved more than Italy? The dappled light, the antiquities, the dark-eyed maidens...the script writes itself.

And that's the trouble. With so much to look at, why struggle for any depth? Rob Marshall's Nine assembles an attractive cast and turns them loose on the stylish peninsula, then expects the audience to stay interested for three hours.

Nine's screenwriter Anthony Minghella was the man behind The Talented Mr. Ripley, a darker examination of Italy's seduction of innocents. Patricia Highsmith's source material was better adapted by homegrown Liliana Cavani in Ripley's Game, possibly because she didn't think to lean on the landscape.

Because when foreign filmmakers head south to where it's easy on the eyes, you can expect the scenery to pick up slack.