Paolo Sorrentino is one of the greatest contemporary European auteurs and his films are known for their stylistic elegance and the unique visual imagery that the Italian director creates. The Consequences of Love (original title: Le Conseguenze dell'Amore) is a little-known and massively underrated masterpiece and its viewing experience is a true delight for the human senses. The film has another advantage and its name is Toni Servillo, one of the best actors in his generation in both Europe and the U.S.
The film's protagonist, Titta Di Girolamo, is a quiet and taciturn lodger in a small hotel in the Swiss city of Lugano. Titta is living there for the last eight years, away from his homeland (Italy) and his family. The reasons for this (kind of) exile are unknown to the audience at the beginning of the movie and the viewer has to use his imagination in search of the possible reasoning behind Titta's current predicament. During the first 30-40 minutes or so, we -as the audience- are introduced to the repetitive, purposeless and mundane everyday routine of the protagonist who is also the narrator of the story and we can hear his thoughts in voice-over. Gradually, Titta also reveals some of his little secrets to us like his heroin use, and slowly as the plot unfolds we learn the truth about Titta's special kind of imprisonment in a hotel room for those last few years. Eight years before, he managed a big amount of money that the almighty Mafia has given to him to invest it. Due to bad luck -or perhaps incompetence- Titta lost the money and he was sent to Switzerland to act as a middle-man for the mob, delivering each week a suitcase full of laundered money to a Swiss bank.
Titta's predictable and uneventful existence will start to shake when he meets the young Italian girl, named Sofia, who is a receptionist in the hotel he lives. Sofia is portrayed by the exquisitely beautiful actress, Olivia Magnani, the granddaughter of Anna Magnani who is one of the most popular Italian cinema divas. Magnani -literally- shines in every scene she is in and her character is the one who will attempt to get to know the mysterious Titta a little better, even they haven't spoken a word the two years that she works as a receptionist to the hotel.
What makes this movie unforgettable is, first of all, the masterful direction by Sorrentino who is an expert at using the camera in a way that captures the essence and mood of Titta's solitary existence, while reflecting his innermost feelings and thoughts. Apart from that, the performances are excellent and Toni Servillo ought to get nominated for several awards as he can essentially transform into the character of each film he is playing. I doubt that there is an actor more suitable for Titta's role than himself. Servillo's acting stands out, of course, because The Consequences of Love is a film that concentrates on the protagonist's character, thus offering the actor more space to show his skills. But the secondary roles also, Magnani being the lead, do a magnificent job and add to the movie's whole character.
This is a movie every cinephile should watch, though I believe that it will appeal more to the European audiences. It is one of the rare times that I evaluate a film, tv series, and novel in such a manner, but The Consequences of Love is worthy of a 5/5 star rating.
Le conseguenze dell'amore