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After having seen Antonello Grimaldi's previous, we could not pass this film, which showed on an international cable channel recently. The director continues to surprise, as he did before with this tale of intrigue, death, and mystery in his native Sassari, Sardinia.
A prominent judge, Valerio Garau, arrives to have coffee with his lover, Lauretta. As he mixes the strong espresso with mineral water, Lauretta remarks about his weird mixture. Valerio decides to take his diet pill because he wants to be in shape for the summer and the beach, something that any serious minded Italian male would do to keep his looks. Right after swallowing the capsule, he falls dead to the ground. Since the autopsy reveals he has been poisoned, the man in charge of the investigation decides to get an impartial opinion by calling, Piero, a judge, and a colleague, from the mainland. Piero, an experienced criminal investigator goes right to work, trying to learn the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of Valerio.
One figure emerges as a suspect, Valerio's lover Lauretta, who, after all, was next to him as he died. Her husband, Martinez, is also seen as a possible killer because of his wife's involvement with the dead man. Piero has been given an assistant judge, Ilio, he never asked for. As he researches the motives, he discovers that Valerio led a double life, something that had to do with the relationship he had with his dead sister, who had committed suicide a year before. Ilio is ultimately, as Piero comes to a conclusion, more involved in the case than he originally imagined.
The book is based on a novel by Salvatore Mannuzzo with an adaptation for the screen by Fabrizio Bettelli and Maura Nuccetelli. The film, totally filmed on location in Sardinia, deals with Valerio's duplicity in subtle ways. Piero is a canny investigator who can see the truth come out in unexpected ways. Appearances tell him one thing, but he knows better, going after his instincts, which are in contrast with the general opinion of the murder.
Best thing in the film is Carlo Cecchi who plays Piero. The director got a good performance from this veteran actor. Angela Molina, the Spanish actress, is seen as Lauretta, the lover of Valerio. There does not seem a compelling reason for having her in the film with so many other valuable Italian performers around and her voice is dubbed to a language she clearly does not master. Riccardo Rocco has some good moments, as well as Ivo Marescotti.
The film is easy on the eyes because of Paolo Carnera's cinematography that captures the beauty of Sassari and Olbia and the amazing emerald sea around Sardinia. The musical score is by Ludovico Eunaudi makes a contribution to our enjoyment of the film. Mr. Grimaldi's work should be seen more often, for he is a good director.
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