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Friday, July 16, 2010

DVD Review: Submission of a Woman

Submission of a Woman (AKA Al calar della sera)

Italy 1992
Director: Alessandro Lucidi
Writer: Alessandro Lucidi
Starring: Daniela Poggi, Gianluca Favilla, Paolo Lorimer, Cecilia Luci, Anna Orso, Andrea Ward.
DVD Released: June 29th 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Mya Communication
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film:

Luisa (Daniela Poggi) is an Italian model and actress. Somewhat disillusioned with her work she yearns for roles that demand more of her than the ability to look hot in lingerie. Especially as she now has a husband and a baby at home to look after. Unfortunately Luisa has caught the attention of a dangerous stalker that has already brutally killed at least one victim. This psychopath (Paolo Lorimer) follows Luisa and watches her from a distance but when she heads home to her remote farm in the country he sees his opportunity to strike and a romantic weekend getaway becomes a terrifying ordeal of terror and survival.........

At least that's the kind of hyperbole I'd write on the back of the DVD box to get some poor sucker to rent it! In reality this is a competent Italian TV movie thriller that is let down primarily by it's deathly dull first half. For about the first 45 minutes we simply watch Poggi as she goes about her day, from a trip to the supermarket to getting her car serviced to meeting her agent - it just goes on, and on, and on. Now she may be a fine looking woman but this isn't Haneke or the Dardennes directing here, there truly is nothing drawing the viewer into the story through these scenes. The conceit being I suppose that we are supposed to be wary of all the men she bumps into during the course of her travels in that one of them might be the stalker we briefly saw kill a woman in the film's opening moments, but really it's just tedious beyond belief.

The film's second half however switches gears with a full on home invasion, a couple of murders and a violent rape thrown in for good measure. The film from this point on is actually very well put together and tensely acted. Poggi and Lorimer are very good in their respective roles with a psychological as well as physical game of cat and mouse developing between the two. It's a pity we have to wade through the turgid swamp that is the first half of the movie really because the second half barrels along at a good pace and even throws in a couple of unexpected and rather entertaining twists.

Written and directed by Alessandro Lucidi who was (and still is at the age of 60+) mainly an editor (notables include The Designated Victim, Terror Express, etc) this was his 3rd and final attempt at directing and that pretty much says it all really.

A strangely bloodless and very average 90's Italian TV thriller then, go forth and rent...or not.

The Disc:

1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks very good indeed; strong colours, healthy flesh tones, excellent contrast and a crisp picture. Audio is a stereo mix in Italian; clean and clear, the English subs are free of errors.

Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

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