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A Pure Formality (1994)

Una pura formalità (original title)
PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 26 May 1995 (USA)
Trailer
1:37 | Trailer
Onoff is a famous writer who hasn't published any new books for quite some time and has become a recluse. When he is picked up by the police one stormy night, without any identification, ... See full summary »

Director:

Giuseppe Tornatore

Writers:

Giuseppe Tornatore (story), Giuseppe Tornatore (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Gérard Depardieu ... Onoff
Roman Polanski ... Inspector
Sergio Rubini ... Andre, the Young Policeman
Nicola Di Pinto ... Captain
Tano Cimarosa ... Servant
Paolo Lombardi Paolo Lombardi ... Marshall
Maria Rosa Spagnolo Maria Rosa Spagnolo ... Paula
Alberto Sironi
Giovanni Morricone Giovanni Morricone
Mahdi Kraiem Mahdi Kraiem
Massimo Vanni
Sebastiano Filocamo Sebastiano Filocamo
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Storyline

Onoff is a famous writer who hasn't published any new books for quite some time and has become a recluse. When he is picked up by the police one stormy night, without any identification, out of breath and running madly, without clear memory of recent events, the Inspector is suspicious. Through interrogatory dialectic, the head of this lonely, isolated, broken-down police station tries to establish what has happened, by delving into the mind of his writer-hero, and clearing up a mysterious killing. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief shocking violence and momentary language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

French

Release Date:

26 May 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pure Formality See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$202,458
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Onoff: Is it possible to kill someone and not remember?
See more »


Soundtracks

Ricordare
Music by Andrea Morricone and Ennio Morricone
Lyrics by Pascal Quignard and Giuseppe Tornatore
Performed by Gérard Depardieu
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User Reviews

 
Deeply strange
27 April 2013 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This is an extraordinarily bizarre film written and directed by the immensely talented Giuseppe Tornatore, who is so well known for CINEMA PARADISO (1988), EVERYBODY'S FINE (1990, see my review), THE LEGEND OF 1900 (1998), THE UNKNOWN WOMAN (2006), and other films. He does not always get it quite right, as for instance with THE STAR MAKER (1995), which I thought misfired somewhat. In this weird, intense and claustrophobic film, Tornatore attempts to keep us on the edge of our seats for the entire time with suspense and tension, but it is only partially successful. The film stars Gerard Depardieu and Roman Polanski, who confront one another continually throughout the film in an interrogation situation, where Polanski is the 'Commissaire' (police chief) of an obscure place where it is always raining and the ceiling leaks, and Depardieu is the murder suspect. The film is shot in French, despite having an Italian title. DVDs with English subtitles are now very rare, and have become something of a collector's item, for those who want to collect it, that is! I sat through the whole thing and kept wishing Tornatore had pulled it off entirely, but both actors were incapable of the extreme, unrelenting intensity and the vast range of changing emotions required. There are moments when Depardieu is absolutely brilliant, especially when he becomes wistful. But the cascades of alternating confrontation and sympathy between the two men required greater masters of the acting art, and perhaps a more subtle script. Also, the film is deeply depressing and a real 'downer'. All that gloom and dripping water really gets you down after a while. Of course, the story has a profound explanation, the mystery is indeed deeply intriguing and surprising, and it all turns out to make perfect sense, and has a message as well. But to explain that would require discussing the ending, which is against IMDb rules. Anyone interested in Tornatore and his career needs to see this, as it is a one-off. The film is not recommended for light entertainment purposes. In other words, this is a film for cineastes, not for ordinary viewers. Of course, if you have a deep interest in Depardieu and Polanski as actors, you will need to see it, as they never did anything like this before, or since.


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