A young man tries to help a teenage European girl whom escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
A college film student, obsessed with the works of Alfred Hitchcock, investigates a murder committed in the apartment building across from his and suspects that his seductive neighbor hired a girlfriend to commit the deed.
In Torino, Celine, an American model, is abducted by a taxi driver while en route home to meet her sister Linda, visiting at her apartment. The next morning, Linda reports that Celine is missing - the sergeant in charge directs her to F.B.I. agent Inspector Enzo Avolfi. He's from the Special New York City Department investigating a serial-killer that kidnaps foreigners to destroy their beauty. When a Japanese woman is found at nearby a fountain, Enzo and Linda find that the girl is calling the abductor's skin is "Yellow" in color and Linda concludes that the guy might have jaundice. They go to the Policlinic di Torino to find the killer. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Vincent Gallo was initially set to play the role of Yellow but dropped out after his ex-fiancée Asia Argento was cast in the lead role. Ironically enough, she later quit the project because she was pregnant and was replaced by Emmanuelle Seigner. See more »
Even the worst Dario Argento films have managed to at least get DVD releases in the past decade or so, so the fact that Giallo was filmed two years ago and is still unreleased in most of the world aside from a handful of badly received festival screenings where it was laughed off the screen doesn't exactly fill you with confidence. It may not be the director's favorite film by a long shot despite the misleading 'written and directed by' credit, he was simply a director for hire with the script written by the separately credited Jim Agnew and Sean Keller with the producers apparently no longer returning his phone calls but it's fair to say that it's a long way from being his worst, thankfully never descending to the depths of Phantom of the Opera or the lacklustre The Card Player. Unfortunately it's also not especially good.
The story is serviceable enough, with model Elsa Pataky abducted by a deformed serial killer who likes to take his time destroying beautiful things and her frantic sister (a haggard Emmanuelle Seigner) teaming up with Adrian Brody's broody Italian-American cop to find her while there's still enough of her to find. Despite the set-up, it avoids going the Eli Roth torture porn route, but there are few of Argento's signature flourishes. Not only are the gloves literally off but the film's one 'big' death scene is nothing to write home about: just a simple fall from a tall building. Worse, a couple of minor twists aside, the plot just plods along with not much happening until the last half hour before a last scene that feels like it was tacked on not so much to give the film a happy ending but because what you suspect was the original ending didn't pack enough of a punch.
While it's generally better executed, there are fewer ideas to play with than his less than impressive Mother of Tears, and what there are are fairly familiar cop movie clichés. True, Adrien Brody's lone cop does have a rather neat backstory explaining why he has a talent for tracking down predatory killers, but the early hints of having a damaging Will Graham-like empathy with his killer come to nothing despite Brody playing both hunters because they're such wildly different performances linked only by silly voices (a grizzled Jack Nicholson-Mickey Rourke hybrid for the cop and an Italian Quasimodo for the killer). It's probably the killer's voice that provided the lion's share of the laughs to those derisive festival audiences, but Brody Methodically overdoes the tortured doleful looks as the cop, at times looking like the Eighth Dwarf, Goatee, after Snow White bit the apple.
On the plus side, thanks to Frederic Fasano's cinematography it's the best-looking Argento film in years. It's not a return to the extreme and vivid colors of the Suspiria years but it's a welcome move away from the pallid and lifeless look of many of his latter movies to something with a bit more warmth to its color scheme and a good eye for the Turin locations. But overall, despite all the Argento touchstones the writers incorporated in the screenplay, it's a rather soft by-the-numbers effort that could have been made by almost any capable director whose heart wasn't quite in it but still tried to make the best of what he had to work with. You won't have trouble making it through to the end, but you won't have trouble sleeping after seeing it either.
18 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?