La luce negli occhi explores the banality of evil.
Every so often there comes a film that reminds us what can be achieved when the filmmaker trusts his medium. La luce negli occhi explores the darkest impulses of the human psyche without resorting to special effects, gratuitous bloodshed, or the ubiquitous voiceover. This disturbing, unforgettable work leads us through the labyrinthine psychological complexities of patricide, relying almost entirely on the evocative power of the visual image. The film opens with the glinting steel blade of the carving knife being bought in a shopping mall by a young man, Marco (Fabrizio Gifuni). He is dark, disheveled, feverish. The violence that soon follows is implicit in that initial visual juxtaposition. The murder of Marco's father is not the climax of the film but its impetus. As we are drawn into his tortured emotional struggle with the reality of his crime, the growing tension derives not from the question of whether Marco will confess, but whether he will be destroyed by his torment before he can do so. Fabrizio Gifuni's performance as the protagonist is quite extraordinary. On screen almost the entire length of the film, he subtly communicates the powerful, inexplicable conflict just below Marco's almost emotionless exterior: the obsessive, juvenile motivation buried beneath years of repressed feelings and memories. La luce negli occhi, like Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, lays bare the incomprehensible banality of evil.
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