43 user 19 critic

A Pure Formality (1994)

Una pura formalità (original title)
PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 26 May 1995 (USA)
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 »


Giuseppe Tornatore


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



Learn more

More Like This 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Matteo Scuro is a retired Sicilian bureaucrat (responsible mainly for the writing of birth certificates) and a father of five children, all of whom live on the mainland and hold responsible... See full summary »

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Michèle Morgan, Valéria Cavalli
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A photographer and the types of people he encounters.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Sergio Castellitto, Tiziana Lodato, Franco Scaldati
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Haunted by a horrible past, a Ukrainian young woman calculatedly insinuates herself into the life of a rich Italian family.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Kseniya Rappoport, Michele Placido, Claudia Gerini
The Professor (1986)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Vaguely inspired to the real story of boss of the Camorra's bosses Raffaele Cutolo, this is the story of the criminal career of "Il professore" (the professor). He is in prison, and by ... See full summary »

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Laura del Sol, Leo Gullotta
Baarìa (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Baaria is Sicilian slang for Bagheria where Tornatore was born and this is an autobiographic epic of three generations in the Sicilian village where he was born.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Francesco Scianna, Margareth Madè, Lina Sastri
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Focused on the relationship between an astronomer and his lover, who spend their years apart.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Olga Kurylenko, Simon Johns
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A baby boy, discovered in 1900 on an ocean liner, grows into a musical prodigy, never setting foot on land.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Mélanie Thierry
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A collection of tales set on the Adriatic coast.

Directors: Francesco Barilli, Giuseppe Bertolucci, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Ornella Muti, Bruno Ganz
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A lonely art expert working for a mysterious and reclusive heiress finds not only her art worth examining.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks


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


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


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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


Official Sites:



Italy | France



Release Date:

26 May 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pure Formality See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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


Music by Andrea Morricone and Ennio Morricone
Lyrics by Pascal Quignard and Giuseppe Tornatore
Performed by Gérard Depardieu
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed