Forgive Us Our Debts

Forgive Us Our Debts – Italian Drama, Available on Netflix

Forgive Us Our Debts is a drama that feels like a sour treat matching wonderful camera work with a compelling, witty and melancholy script.

Forgive Us Our Debts revolves around Guido(Claudio Santamaria) a recently fired down on his luck middle-aged man. The story focuses on his new job as a debt collector and Guido being mentored by a seasoned debt collector named Franco(Marco Giallini). Guido struggles with the wicked demands of the job but feels an unwanted emotional stimulus from holding power over someone. Guido is stuck between the shame he feels being a debt collector and the money and power the job brings. Struggling between two worlds is a common theme for most characters in the film. Guido, Rina, a temporary bartender, and guido’s only friend, a man he calls the professore, all struggle with their identity. Caught in between their old selves and the people they want to become. Each character being so dynamic gives the plot of the movie much-needed depth. Rina is my favorite character, she is just worried enough about Guido to give him hope but she is always going to have to leave the country. Franco is also a standout, he is an unforgiving and cold debt collector who changes little.

All four main characters are acted well but Flonja Kodheli is a real standout. She added much more gravitas to every scene and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her the whole film. Marco Giallini made me hate Franco at multiple points, so he’s also a standout.

The Camerawork is a style not often seen in modern filmmaking, but I enjoy it. The long static cuts, which are abundant in the film, add a sense of reality. It makes the characters and the situations feel real instead of situations manufactured for maximum pleasure. Although, the most impressive cut in the movie uses a moving camera focused on Rina, showing the talent of the cinematography work.

Forgive Us Our Debts is worth a watch for any cinephile, but moviegoers who dislike a slow building plot and a melancholy story should look elsewhere. Also, it’s in Italian so you have to use subtitles.  

3.5/4 Stars

Cargo

Cargo has a promising start but tries to fit just about every post-apocalyptic trope into one movie which makes the plot and film direction a mess.

The first twelve minutes of the film set up what could have been a decent post-apocalyptic thriller but derails itself by overuse of common tropes. The filmmakers manage to try and fit man low on time, modern society poisoning earth causing earth to fight back with a disease, horrid decision making under pressure, country survivor who immediately lost all humanity, sound attracts the zombies( but only when it advances the storyline), zombies needing to hibernate, all into one movie. Predictably the end product is a jumbled mess. The film never manages to focus itself on a few storylines, which is a shame because a few could have been expanded on to success. Strangely, the main emotional pull other than Martin Freeman doesn’t start playing a real role until two-thirds into the movie. Thoomi doesn’t have enough time to create a bond with the audience so her part during the finale falls short. For a thriller, it’s not scary whatsoever. It isn’t engrossing enough to suspend belief of its

To Cargo’s credit, the setting is new you don’t see South Australia often. The set pieces in the final third are clever, leading to an enjoyable ending. Susie Porter her role well, even if she is in the movie for about fifteen minutes. Cargo isn’t long, but the time could have been better used focusing on Thoomi and the Aborigines storyline instead of Martin Freeman experiencing every post-apocalyptic trope possible.

You should skip Cargo unless you really like post-apocalyptic movies and don’t care about overused tropes. 1.5/4 Stars

Kodachrome

 

Kodachrome

Kodachrome is a road trip redemption film with a groovy analog aesthetic and a solid triumvirate of performances from Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olson, and Ed Harris. Yet the film is held back from being a memorable one by its ham-fisted and predictable screenplay.

You could say the cinematographer Alan Poon is the real star of the movie by creating an embracing warm color scheme accentuated by close up shots using natural lighting. The director Mark Raso also isn’t afraid to shoot important scenes in low light which highlights this films cinematographic range. This warm color scheme is matched by a soundtrack populated by classic rock hits that are always a crowd pleaser. The marriage of music and lighting creates such a groovy aesthetic it keeps the film enjoyable throughout.

The screenplay is the predictable at best, the writers certainly don’t subscribe to the iceberg theory of writing. It honestly feels like the writers think the target audience are stupid. Every time they manage to make a subtle point through action or dialogue, Elizabeth Olson character then explains that point in detail. This ham-fisted approach to the writing is also perpetuated in how predictable the movie is. The director mine as well have had flashing text fly across the screen reading “Foreshadowing” or “character life symmetry” at multiple points throughout the movie.

This type of writing inherently makes the characters dry and predictable as well, but even with their limitations, they are played very believably by the actors. Elizabeth Olson does very well as her character is easily the most shallow and least thought out. Jason Sudeikis and Ed Harris have more dynamic characters as the movie revolves around their father-son relationship. They start to build a nice chemistry, which is necessary as all the conflict is dialogue driven between them. Unfortunately, it feels like they build that chemistry too late. The first two-thirds of the film is slow as the interaction doesn’t have much emotional gravitas. The final third achieves that emotional stimulation but the ending is so predictable it almost cheapens the entire experience. I found myself really wanting it to be over in the last five minutes.

 

1.5/4 Stars   Available on Netflix