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Review: Don’t Move

The film’s view of human behavior is as offensive as it is preposterously simpleminded.

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Don’t Move
Photo: Northern Arts Entertainment

In the grand tradition of Gabriele Muccino’s Paul Thomas Anderson-obsessed productions The Last Kiss and Remember Me, My Love comes the clueless Don’t Move, a vile male fantasy in which a girl’s horrific traffic accident provokes her surgeon-father to reminisce about days gone by, specifically the sweltering afternoon he raped a woman after his car broke down on the side of a country road.

Timoteo (director Sergio Castellitto) lives in the city with his wife Elsa (Claudia Gerini), whose chilliness ostensibly explains why he takes his aw-shucks frustrations out on Penélope Cruz’s Mamma Roma. Her name is actually Italia, but the implication is the same: I am woman, hear me roar! Don’t Move doesn’t exactly romanticize rape, but it does hyperbolize Timoteo’s guilt. In essence, it asks us to sympathize not with the victim but the victimizer, who takes to articulating his guilt in the sand surrounding his beach house. “I Raped A Woman,” he writes, a gesture his pretty wife misses as she half-runs past her husband and dives into the ocean. Oh, the humanity.

This moment is revealed to the audience via dramatic overhead, one of many examples that the actor-director’s concern here isn’t the horror of Italia’s life but the tawdry aesthetic pleasures of his audience: Timoteo “takes” Elsa over a coffee table covered in seashells, ostensibly because the rough-and-tumble fuck session isn’t unlike the man’s internal crisis, and when Timoteo’s shrill daughter causes a scene in public after a wrestling match, it’s implied that her father’s obsession with her wrestling career may have something to do with a son having been aborted. Long on visual affections and unexamined smut but short on insight, the film’s view of human behavior is as offensive as it is preposterously simpleminded.

Cast: Penélope Cruz, Sergio Castellitto, Claudia Gerini, Lina Bernardi, Pietro De Silva, Angela Finocchiaro, Marco Giallini, Elena Perino, Marit Nissen, Renato Marchetti Director: Sergio Castellitto Screenwriter: Sergio Castellitto, Margaret Mazzantini Distributor: Northern Arts Entertainment Running Time: 117 min Rating: NR Year: 2004 Buy: Video

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