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Una pura formalità
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Pure Formality More at IMDbPro »Una pura formalità (original title)

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44 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Una pura fantastica!

Author: vens perme from Slovenia
14 April 2005

Take a deep breath, you cinefillic voyeur! Take a deep breath, sit down comfortably on your couch and think twice before you press play on your remote controller... Think twice since you are about to witness something that has never been seen before... Actually it has been seen later, but in much more unoriginal and uninteresting way. What you are about to witness in this movie is something between ON and OFF; you'll hear one of the greatest movie dialog ever spoken, you'll see thestunning performance of unbelievably excellent Polanski and surprisingly good Depardieu; you'll learn how the direction of the movie is supposed to be handled; you'll realize that you just THOUGHT that you know what is your life turning into... And finally, you'll find out the meaning of word MASTERPIECE.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One Pure Cinema ....

Author: ramsri81 from India
8 January 2008

One word that can sum up this movie is Fantastic!!! The thing about this movie is I wasn't lucky like a few other people over here to watch this movie without expecting anything. I almost knew everything I needed to know about this movie even before I bought the DVD. The movie was a pure cinema in every sense of the word. I expect the movie to contain a decent story, good actors, a little bit of suspense, a little comedy (not mandatory) and a classic ending. This one provided me with all of these things and more. The movie is really a manifestation of some one's mind. The acting is uniformly brilliant. I know Polanski is a decent actor and I loved him in The Tenant, but here he is just pure Master Class.Gérard Depardieu is a legend in France and in International Cinema and he shows in this movie why is that. In a short summary the movie involves a person being questioned for staying out in the woods without any identification. When it turns out to be the Great Writer Onoff who doesn't quite remember how he came to that place. How the Inspector Da Vinci(Polanski) gets out the answer forms the rest of the story. Enjoy the movie except for one scene of crude nudity from Gérard Depardieu. That was scary!!!! I rate this movie 10/10 (inspite of Gérard Depardieu's scary back!!!)

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30 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

One of the Best films I've seen

Author: Gustavo from Buenos Aires
21 December 2003

I must thank Imdb, because I would have never watched this masterpiece if it weren't for it's user comments. The film is indeed remarkable, in the style of Adrian Lyne's "Jacob's Ladder", and although it's the kind of film that needs a second watch in order to get everything together, and that I got everything together thanks to some user comments, I was astonished to see how it worked over my feeling as if another part of me had completely understood the plot with just one watch. Warning: you might feel somewhat sad when watching this film. Not the kind of feeling of sadness of typical films in which a boy gets leuchemia; I'm talking about a DEEP, REAL feeling about life. The actors, the words, the scenography, they are all WONDERFUL. All. Do not miss it.

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

I never forget this film

Author: m_m-3 from Islamic Republic of Iran
17 February 2006

It was a fantastic movie and it has a shocking ending. The performances was great specially Gerard Depardieu. It was one of the best mystery films after The Usual Suspects. And I think it should be in top 250 but it is not.

The direction was brilliant and you can not guess the ending. We can not forget the screen play all of It's words was amazing. All of the film is an investigation but you never feeling tired and I think the direction and screen play make it like this. You see this movie when you have an open mind because it makes some question in your mind. At last: I really enjoyed that and I gave it 10/10

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece

Author: saugoof from Melbourne, Australia
6 August 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Film making does not get much better than this. This combines clever writing with great cinematography and fantastic acting. Without giving away too much of the story, Gerard Depardieu plays Onoff, a burnt out writer who finds himself at a country police station in the middle of the night in a big storm. He is being interrogated by Roman Polanski for a murder. However, this plot is just a framework of something bigger which I'm not going to give away here. The whole film takes place in one night and virtually the entire movie is shot within the police station.

There are a lot of things that aren't initially clear in the movie and this is definitely one that rewards repeated viewings. The ending is unexpected but after knowing how it finishes, watching the movie again really helps you pick up things that will make a lot more sense than on first viewing. This all makes it sound like a complex movie to watch, which is true to some point. However what makes this so rewarding is that even if you don't realise everything that is going on here, it still is fascinating to watch.

The cinematography is excellent and gives the movie a really claustrophobic feel. The attention to detail is quite breathtaking too, there is nothing that goes on that hasn't got some relevance to the story and much of it is not really obvious on the first viewing. The writing is very clever and I'm sure it was an inspiration for movies like "The Sixth Sense".

All this is good by itself, but the two things that really lift the movie above any number of other great movies is the acting and the use of language. Depardieu has made some stinkers in his time, which isn't surprising considering his workload. But that doesn't change that he can be one of the finest actors around. He's certainly not afraid to come across as a very ugly man here, physically and emotionally. But while great acting can be expected of him, the real revelation is Roman Polanski. He doesn't act in a lot of movies these days, in fact the only other movie I've ever seen him in was "The Fearless Vampire Killers". He plays the Inspector who admires Onoff but nevertheless has to interrogate him. The exchanges between him and Depardieu are an absolute pleasure to watch. Polanski speaks surprisingly good French and although Depardieu gets the better lines, as he would since he's a writer, Polanski is the smarter person and ultimately outwits him.

The acting, and indeed the entire film, has a bit of a theatrical feel about it. One the one hand you could almost say that it's bad acting since it never feels like you're watching anyone else than Polanski and Depardieu on screen. But they deliver their lines so well and work of each other so well that this is totally inconsequential. The other thing I have mentioned before is the use of language, this film is full of memorable lines and not a word is wasted. This is probably the closest I have seen films come to pure poetry on screen.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

You will continue thinking long after the credits roll

Author: Rex Michael Dillon ( from San Jose, CA
14 August 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is difficult to comment on the film without alluding to the plot or the ending. I would recommend this film to anyone old enough to ponder on life and death. Of course this does not deal so much with the meaning of life, as it does with the meaning of death. Hopefully I have peaked your interest. See this film. I think it might end up as one of your all time favorites.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing discovery

Author: Andres Bermudez from Bogota, Colombia
21 December 1999

I watched this film captured by the presence of Roman Polanski in the credits. The result was very intriguing. Through the reminiscences of famous writer Onoff (Depardieu) and the shrewd interventions of the Inspector (Polanski) the crime is effectively solved. The dialogue is exceptional, and both men's performances are quite good. Basically this is a very interesting and intriguing film, and fortunately not pretentious. Highly recommendable.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A true masterpiece

Author: sashairk from United States
29 June 2008

A masterpiece, in a true meaning of this word. Yet, a very few people know about this gem; further, out of those few who saw it, only a small minority truly understood and appreciated it. It is a work of art, with masterfully written dialogs, haunting music (one of a very few instances where Gerard Depardieu sings) and a shocking ending. Never take for the 'face value' what you see there; there are many hints spread across it (actually, from the very beginning) that only towards the end make sense. It is the movie only for those who enjoy films like "The Sixth Sense," but this one is made on a much more sublime and sophisticated level. One of my favorite movies, if not The One.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Excellent psychological drama with an unexpected twist.

Author: ana_kon1 from United States
1 May 2006

This movie is one of the best psychological dramas I have ever seen. The unexpected twist at the end of the story will leave you shocked for many hours,may be days. Even though the story takes place in one place,and it is pretty much a play of two actors, those actors-Gérard Depardieu and Roman Polanski-actors of a world class, make it a powerful performance. The previous reviewer noted that "you expect it to get more and more tense as it goes along; unfortunately, that doesn't happen". That is true to some respect-movie lovers looking for some action may get disappointed. However, the brilliant, clever screenplay written by Giuseppe Tornatore will make you wonder and worry with the main character without even a clue on what was happening to him. This movie is absolutely brilliant. It will take a special place in my collection.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Very impressive sleeper

Author: TrevorAclea from London, England
5 April 2005

'A Pure Formality' was, to my surprise, one of the very best films I've seen in a long time. I'd seen snippets of the Italian version on Italian TV and the English-language one on US cable, neither encouraging me to delve further, but in its original French, with both Polanski and Depardieu voicing themselves, it manages to turn a potentially hoary old psychodrama into something much more life affirming.

Depardieu is the confused great writer arrested in the middle of a rainstorm and taken to a dark, leaking Italian police station where he is interrogated by Roman Polanski's inspector, who also happens to be an ardent fan, over the identity of a murder victim. Naturally, layers of self-deception are gradually pulled away on this long dark night of the soul before it reaches a not entirely unexpected but still remarkably satisfying conclusion. Despite the claustrophobic setting, Giuseppe Tornatore's excellent composition keeps it vividly cinematic, with several memorable moments (the most impressive a beautiful sequence following a song as it floats through the room). The flashbacks are sometimes awkward and I could definitely have done without Depardieu's nudity, but this is still one of the most remarkable films I've seen in recent years. Two-thirds through the movie a power cut hit for two-and-a-half hours, and it was excruciating waiting to get the chance to finish the film.

Very highly recommended indeed.

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