Giallo (2009) [REVIEW]


There were two things I knew before watching this movie. Okay, well I guess cumulatively I knew a little bit more than two things, but probably less than five. What I meant to say is I only knew two things about THIS movie before watching it. Thing #1: the term “giallo” is a way of referring to certain types of Italian literature and film. As far as what kind of literature and film, I really didn’t know, because I’m kind of stupid. I generally don’t like to classify movies into genres too intensely, because what I might consider a slasher movie, someone might disagree and say it’s a psychological thriller with characters that are slashers. In hopes of avoiding that bullshit, I never really sought out too many genres, so giallo was just another term I didn’t pay attention to. Thing #2: this film’s release was the subject of some Adrien Brody drama, but I didn’t really know what the drama was that prevented this film’s release until I went onto the internet. I was nervous that it was because of something the director, Dario Argento, might have done, but I guess it was just more of a financial thing. You got lucky on this one, Argento!


“What was that? Brody-Man ain’t gettin’ his money? Dis here be some BULL-SHEEEET ARGENTOOOO!”

We see two young women at a club speaking to each other in Japanese, and they are having a good time until they get into a cab, get locked in, and assaulted. The film then introduces us to a model, played by Elsa Pataky, who is making plans to meet her sister, played by Emmanuelle Seigner after the runway show, only to also get into a cab and get locked in and assaulted. The sister goes to the police and they don’t really give a shit and direct her to go talk to the American who works in the basement, played by Adrien Brody. Hearing about the woman being kidnapped in a cab and being a model, he is reminded of a case he has been working on where a killer has been murdering and disfiguring attractive young women. He starts trying to find clues about the victim as well as the killer, and strikes up a working relationship with the sister. After the Japanese woman from the opening scene turns up mutilated and left for dead, she is only able to say a traditional prayer as well as claiming the killer to be “yellow” before she dies. The jump is then made that the killer’s skin must be yellow, so he must have a medical condition that requires treatment, and through a series of leads, Brody-Man finds the killer’s name, as well engages in a brief chase sequence with him. There’s no sign of him at his apartment, other than him clearly being the one responsible, and the viewers see Elsa’s character escape, only to be caught shortly after. The killer goes to the sister’s house to let her know she needs medical treatment, and that if she helps him get medical treatment, he’ll tell her where her sister is being held, but then Brody-Man shows up and kills him before the location is revealed. Brody-Man walks away, not really giving a shit about the sister who might never be found, because he got his man, and then we see that the victim is trapped in the trunk of a car in a parking garage, yet it remains unclear as to whether or not she is eventually found.


Well that’s ONE way to make Elsa Pataky go cross-eyed! Now you can do those crazy Magic Eye puzzles!

Rampaige, if you’re reading this, I don’t care that you hated this movie, because I liked it! Well, I kind of liked it. Apparently the style of giallo, after reading about it online, refers to thrillers that have a combination of violent deaths, blood, and boobs. All things that I like! Going back even further, giallo also refers to pulp novels about crime and mystery. The reason the term “giallo” is used is because it also is Italian for “yellow”, and those pulp novels originally had yellow covers. So not only does this film have a giallo style, but the main character’s skin is also yellow, which is giallo, which is a genre of film, which gets its name from the yellow covered novels that epitomized this style, which is a giallo style, and the character’s skin is yellow, which translates to giallo, the style of the film! I JUST TALKED MYSELF DIZZY! And here I thought I was so clever for knowing that giallo meant yellow, and then noticing that the bad guy had yellow skin from the beginning, not thinking it would become a plot point. One annoyance was how quickly and easily they went from hearing that the character was “yellow” to knowing 100% without a doubt that he had yellow skin. Aren’t there other possibilities? Maybe he hung out with Curious George a lot and that’s why he was yellow. Everything from there hinged upon that moment, and they got it a little too easily.


You trying to ask her questions, Brody-Man? She’s already dead! What are you gonna ask her, how dead she is?! The answer is…VERY DEAD!

I can’t help but think that it was intentional to have such an obvious jump to make Brody-Man know that the character was yellow, considering this was a giallo film, I think things were intended to be obvious. No real grey areas, no real subtleties, all the characters were able to connect the dots quite easily. Despite the fact that giallo films supposedly have lots of blood, boobs, and style, this film seemed to use those devices minimally, yet the film was still enjoyable. I got the sense that the characters and dialogue were intended to be a little dry, a little boring, a little uninteresting, and the actors really were meant to “phone in” their performances. Not to say any of the actors did poor jobs, there just weren’t too many extremes of emotions that the characters had to go through. I also really liked the way it ended ambiguously, as well as Brody-Man’s character just being satisfied for getting what he wanted. Coming from Argento, this film seemed to be more of an homage to the style of giallo as opposed to one of the prime examples of the style.


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4 responses to “Giallo (2009) [REVIEW]

  1. No mention of the weird makeup Brody-Man wore to simultaneously play the villain? What a weird choice by the filmmakers. Definitely the creepiest part of the movie. Too much Brody for one man to handle.

  2. Pingback: Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004) [REVIEW] | The Wolfman Cometh·

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