Don't Move (Italy/Spain/UK; 125 min.)


directed by: Sergio Castellitto
starring: Penélope Cruz; Sergio Castellitto; Claudia Gerini
Non Ti Muovere
 

Bruce says: "Timoteo is the small boy looking down into the courtyard watching an inexcusable act of cruelty, neighborhood boys beating a small frog to death. After the assailants leave, Timoteo runs down to the courtyard, finds the frog and gives it a proper burial. In between these two events Timoteo’s father smashes his pasta dish onto the dining table and proclaims he is walking out on his family. As an adult Timoteo (Sergio Castellitto) is cursed with a violent streak and blessed with compassion

"DON'T MOVE, based on the novel by the director’s wife, Margaret Mazzantini, begins with an aerial view of a motorbike accident in the pouring rain. Initially an abstraction, we slowly begin to understand what is happening below as the camera gently zooms downward. A body is loaded into an ambulance and rushed to hospital. We first learn that the victim is female, then that she has the same surname as one of the doctors, and finally that the young girl is Timoteo’s fifteen year old daughter Angela. The entire film consists of flashbacks in Timoteo’s mind while Angela undergoes brain surgery.

"Most of us lead lives relatively free of melodrama because we choose the path of least resistance or knowingly make choices which prevent things from getting out of hand; a few of us are helpless when it comes to making rational decisions in the realm of passion. Timoteo is a gifted surgeon with a beautiful wife named Elsa (Claudia Gerini). One day he stumbles upon uncontrollable passion quite by accident when his car breaks down and a cleaning woman lets him borrow her phone to call for help. The Samaritan is Italia (Penelope Cruz) who is rather unattractive and lower class. Timoteo uses Italia’s phone, then leaves; he returns to use the phone a second time but does not leave, he stays and rapes her. The following day he returns again to apologize and brutally assaults her sexually again. This becomes a ritual.

"Timoteo seems to be one of those men who can have his cake and eat it, too. Not for long. Italia threatens, 'Don’t mess with me or I’ll kill you.' Timoteo wants to have a child but Elsa does not want to remove her IUD. 'Besides,' she says, 'I wouldn’t even know how to hold a child.' Within a matter of days, Timoteo discovers that both Italia and Elsa are pregnant. The balance of the film reveals the fates of the pregnant women and also the fate of Angela.

"Reportedly Castellitto was faithful to his wife’s original story. This is unfortunate for the melodrama begins to suffer after the pregnancies are announced and discovered. Soon the film skids into soap opera territory which is sad because it could have been avoided with more skillful direction and a less faithful adaptation. What saves the film is the performances of the three leads. Penelope Cruz plays against type to the ultimate degree. She forces you to discover the beauty in her plainness. Castellitto (MOSTLY MARTHA, VA SAVOIR) is believable when demonstrating his voracious sexual appetite as well as when he lovingly cares for both wife and mistress. Claudia Gerini (UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN) is charming as the upper class woman who thinks she has it all, choosing to ignore any evidence to the contrary.

"This is one film where it might pay to walk out just before the ending, which is nauseatingly sentimental. The film is too long; it could be tighter. The cinematography is excellent. The music score included a lot of songs in English, another reminder how English is invading every culture. 3.5 cats"