Thursday 26 April 2018


The Italians know about character-driven tragedy, but Paolo Virzi's multi-angle melodrama hits such levels of soapiness that you might need a rinse afterwards.

Predicting the downfall of Dino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) is easy. Charmed over a game of tennis, he gets into financial bed with shifty hedge-fund merchant Giovanni (Fabrizio Gifuni), whose son is seeing Dino's daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli). It's the economic crisis, and the small-time estate agent fancies a piece of the pie enjoyed by the seemingly super-rich Giovanni.

This, however, is only one strand of the tale, which shifts to the perspective of other characters - Giovanni's beleaguered and bored wife Carla (an excellent Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), and Serena, who falls for a local artist with a penchant for self-harm. What ties these threads is a hit-and-run incident that someone in the milieu has been involved in. If it's going to get better, it must first get worse. If.

Such dramatic triptychs require a steady hand, on stage or screen. Human Capital works hard to keep things ticking evenly in each chapter but doesn't quite manage it. What it does have is crafty editing as Virzi moves the viewpoint around, as well as a cast who chew into their roles with bravura and little subtlety. This is optimal for a saga about the lines between charity and predation blurring, let alone your average soap.


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