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This Giallo is practically unknown, and that's a real shame as Puzzle is an outstanding example of the genre. Director Duccio Tessari made the excellent Giallo 'The Bloodstained Butterfly' three years before this film, and the two share the same keenness to buck as many plotting trends as possible; as while this film firmly fits into the Giallo in terms of style, the plot takes the focus away from common Giallo elements such as sex and murder and puts it more on the characters and an intriguing plot involving amnesia. The film is also known as 'Man Without Memory', and that is down the fact that the central character, Peter, has lost his memory. He's being treated in a hospital, and it's not long before a mysterious stranger turns up and accuses Peter of double-crossing him. We later learn that peter is really Edward, and he's married to the beautiful Sara. He finds out about his wife and travels to Italy in order to meet up with her; although she has chiselled out a new life for herself which involves a male friend named Reinhardt, and a young kid with a crush on her...
Director Duccio Tessari uses the first half of the film to get the plot basics in place, and as a consequence it's not always exciting. However, the director manages to hold the audience's attention long enough for the film to begin revealing itself in the second act. Puzzle was scripted by Giallo luminary Ernesto Gastaldi, and the film represents one of his best works, which says a lot considering the other films he penned. While the plot does take a while to get going, once it does the film becomes a real thrill ride, and this both offsets the sombre tone of the first half and is hugely entertaining. The main influence would appear to be the American classic 'Wait Until Dark', although the film doesn't take too much from the Audrey Hepburn film. The acting is above average, with Senta Berger, Luc Merenda and Umberto Orsini delivering fine performances in the central roles. The ending is superb and ensures that the film ends on a high, as a chainsaw revs into action and the film makes up for its lack of bloodshed. Overall, I really hope that Puzzle gets a wide release soon as this is a film that really deserves to be more seen!
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