3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This unique coming-of-age tale focuses on a young woman named Bianca, played by Manuela Martelli. When her parents are killed in a car accident, she and her brother Tomas are left orphaned and in a financially dubious situation. While she is not a minor, he is, and they are faced with two options: Bianca can become head of the household, or forfeit those duties and leave Tomas to fend for himself in an orphanage. It's a sink or swim situation, and Bianca decides to take on the role of matriarch. Out of necessity, the siblings are ultimately forced to get jobs - while still in school - to supplement the meager pension they receive from their late father. Tomas becomes involved with some sketchy characters from the local gym, and the foursome hatches a plan to rob a blind and aging ex-actor of his money. The catch? Bianca must earn his trust. Once inside his rotting mansion, it is easy to get physically close to the Maciste. What isn't easy is finding his rumored hidden fortune. And the hardest part of all is the array of complicated, impossible emotions Bianca is beginning to feel for the veteran thespian, portrayed both convincingly and brilliantly by Rutger Hauer.
Oddly sensual and perversely heartbreaking, this film leaves you wanting more. If you like unusual romantic scenarios, this is for you. If you like Rutger Hauer, this is DEFINITELY for you. The subtitles are not that distracting, and there are literally entire portions of the movie that are in English. As far as cinematography goes, the movie isn't exactly fancy. I felt that the envelope honestly could have been pushed further in certain regards, particularly emotionally. However, some might argue that THAT is where this film derives much of its strength from. The fact that it takes an economical approach regarding style and emotional virility makes it dryly raw - in fact, slightly painful - for the viewer, but in a good way. My only other criticisms might be that the film's conclusion is somewhat vague and open-ended. Again, some might prefer this, as it leaves something to the imagination. (It is also important to note that, while some viewers might have the desire to learn more about surrounding characters, the story is told from Bianca's perspective, thus there is less of an emphasis on the rest of the cast and a much more concentrated focus on her and the Maciste, as well as their ensuing relationship).
This movie is not for everyone. However, I strongly recommend it, and cannot wait to watch it again.
E. Lee Zimmerman
- Published on Amazon.com
The Maturing of Bianca
Coming-of-age stories have been around quite possibly as long as folks have been coming-of-age. The beauty of most of them is that they embrace that universal experience – that fragile emotional precipice bordering both childhood and adulthood – so they tend to translate fairly well from one culture to the next. Because they are interchangeable across countries, they need to offer up something unique in order to stand out from the crop, and, as hard as THE FUTURE (aka IL FUTURO) tries, I’m not sure it succeeds in the precise way director Alicia Scherson intended: it has pretty wide critical acclaim, though I suspect most regular folks in the audience might find themselves scratching their heads over what all of it meant.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Bianca (played sublimely by the lovely Manuela Martelli) and Tomas (Luigi Ciardo) find themselves orphaned after their parents perish in an automobile accident. Because Bianca is of adult age, the two siblings are allowed to remain in their home so long as the elder girl agrees to serve as her brother’s guardian, which she does. As the two begin their new journey through life, Bianca abandons school in favor of a job while Tomas invites two of his male coworkers – personal trainers from a nearby gym – to live in their home with them. It isn’t long before the fitness freaks concoct a scheme for the young woman to bilk an aging muscleman-turned-actor, Maciste (played by screen veteran Rutger Hauer), out of his fortune by locating the whereabouts of his private safe so they can crack it.
To be perfectly clear, THE FUTURE is a very gradually simmering story. As some critics have pointed out, it’s certainly reminiscent of some of Alfred Hitchcock’s greater works, and director Alicia Scherson even mined that territory by approving a score which makes the visuals appear to be film noir. The truth is that there’s very little in the film that plays out like a Hitchcock thriller, but the association is valid despite a somewhat skewed ending.
What audiences have here once the actual story gets going – be warned: there’s an awful amount of set-up in order to get Martelli and Hauer even in the same room – is a classic performance piece. Think of it as an elaborately staged duet between the two leads, each commanding their respective screen charms that somehow sizzling despite what must be a 40+ year age difference (both in the story as well in real life). These two thespians hoist the picture up on to their shoulders and into the stratosphere, but, unfortunately, that chemistry doesn’t pay-off the way it should when they’re apart. Perhaps that’s because both characters are struggling to come-of-age – Bianca is approaching adulthood while Maciste is nearing his end of days – and it’s only when they’re together that they can find a measure of solace, a measure of happiness, a measure of sanity in a world that would definitely frown on their relationship.
Despite Martelli believing she loves the aging bodybuilder, I never found her confession all that authentic. Rather, her innocence makes her believe that their companionship is normal, and I suspect that’s why she fails to follow-thru on the mission to uncover the man’s private wealth. Instead, she finds a man whose semen she even sees a ‘golden’ – symbolic of the goodness buried deep inside his grizzled and gray exterior – and it is that impression that she falls head over heels for. Still, what she feels for him she feels deeply, and it’s that motivation that lifts what could be an otherwise faulty performance.
Sadly, the end result of this is that both characters ‘grow up’ of sorts, and that was the singular letdown. It’s a far too complicated story centered with two award-caliber performances to have such an ‘elementary’ lesson. I was hoping for something deep, but THE FUTURE stayed too often in the present for me to genuinely appreciate the past.
THE FUTURE (aka IL FUTURO)  is produced by a whole host of contributors, not the least of which include Movimento Film, Jirafa, Pandora Films, La Ventura, Astronauta Films, and many, many more (for a complete list, you can check out IMDB.com’s full listing). DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled by Strand Releasing. For those needing it spelled out perfectly, this is a mixed-language spoken film with Spanish, Italian and English; you’ll need to make use of the subtitling track, but there is a significant portion of the film spoken in English. As for the technical specifications, this is a smartly assembled production with some terrific quality sights and sounds. As is often the case when these foreign releases land on American shores, there are (sadly) no special features to speak of.
RECOMMENDED. Despite all of the positives THE FUTURE has going for it, I found it ultimately a frustrating experience – adapted from a novel, it requires a vast amount of set-up before the actual conflict of the story rears its head, and – by then – I’d imagine most viewers would either have turned it off or completely tuned out. That said, once the conflict is known, the film actually shifts into a comfortable gear, but, in the final analysis, it ends up being little more than an artsy ‘coming-of-age’ film that quite possibly could’ve accomplished as much by offering up far, far less. Still, it’s a great performance duet with Hauer quite possibly nearing the end of his career while Martelli is just getting in the game. Their story works. The rest? Not so much.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Strand Releasing provided me with a DVD copy of THE FUTURE (aka IL FUTURO) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
Andres C. Salama
- Published on Amazon.com
A surprisingly compelling movie. Two Chilean teenagers living in Rome (Bianca and Tomas) became orphans when their parents die in a car accident. Living now alone in an apartment, they soon drop school and find some jobs to sustain themselves: she in a hair salon, he in a gym. Soon, Tomas brings two dubious friends from the gym to live with them in their apartment. These friends, who seem to easily manipulate Tomas, eventually engage Bianca in a seemingly harebrained plot: she has to seduce a former bodybuilder and sword and sandals star named Maciste (played by the veteran Dutch actor Rutger Hauer), who is blind and lives as a recluse in an old mansion in Rome, so she can find the safe in his house where he presumably keeps his fortune. So the rest of the movie is about how the strange relationship between Bianca and Maciste develops. Only the ending is unsatisfying. Playing Bianca, the pretty, petite Manuela Martelli looks a bit sour and expressionless, but is compelling as she appears about half the running time in the nude along the much older Hauer. Based on a novel by the prestigious Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I rented this movie because I loved Alicia Scherson's 2005 movie titled Play, which was delightful. This movie was not. It was relentlessly depressing until the very last few seconds, but by that time I had long since ceased to care what happened to any of the obnoxious characters.
Lesbians and straight men might enjoy watching a teenage Italian girl walk around totally naked and covered in some kind of oil for 90 minutes, but only sleazy fat old men could enjoy watching her have paid sex repeatedly with a sleazy fat old man. The ONLY few seconds of this horrible movie that were tolerable AT ALL were some views of Rome not normally shown in movies.
The respect I had for Scherson after seeing Play has been demolished. I've re-watched Play several times and loved it more each time, but I'd rather have my arm amputated than watch this movie again.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't really understand how this received such favorable reviews. An Italian brother and sister lose their parents in a car crash, get involved with some shady friends, and try to draw on their very limited life experience to score some easy money. The object of their scheme is a blind American who was once a highly paid movie star. I appreciated the moral dilemma this young girl found herself increasingly saddened by, but it would have been more interested if she was in some way forced to confess being a con artist. Without spoiling the end, I wanted to know more about what became of these 3 characters.