Dry (2022) Poster

(2022)

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6/10
A Dry Human Spiderweb
danielefanin-1740916 October 2022
Italian director Paolo Virzí has frequently chosen choral structures for his movies, often with excellent results, amongst which excels The Human Capital (2014), and such model is selected again for his last film, Dry (Siccità), premiered at 79th Venice Film Festival, where it also bagged a minor prize.

A dystopic Rome, without water after three rainless years and with the river Tiber completely dry, is the desolate set where the sad comedies of pathetic characters of even drier lives are staged. They run after each other, brush against each other and are relate with each other in parched days and nights filled with different sorrows, separate yet linked and intertwined, made even more dire by the start of a pandemic caused by the proliferation of ever-present bugs. And everybody is waiting for the refreshing rain that could quench the soul and clean the bodies, allowing the rebirth of whatever humanity might have remained in the hearts of the characters, like the small plant that is cared for, thrown away and salvaged by one of the main characters in the movie.

Dry is a bold movie, for the evident references to the Covid-19 pandemic, which might have easily made it banal, and an interesting one, for the cinematography and the soundtrack; the director is well supported by a cast of some of the best Italian actors and actresses, that are able to catch and keep the viewers' attention even when, and it happens frequently, the script, the product of four writers (maybe too many!), tends to run dry as well, like it reflects the torrid climate that leaves the characters gasping.

Italian cinema, both with its comedies as well as with its neo-realistic roots, historically has not given much attention to dystopic tales, much closer to other regions' filmographies, and in this context Paolo Virzí's latest movie surely represents an interesting and innovative effort. The basic idea behind the movie is good and the movie itself is enjoyable to watch and offers quite enough food for thought. Yet, it struggles to coordinate all the stories it choses to tell, that sometimes remain hanged to strings too thin and dry to allow the film narrative lifeblood to run smoothly and sufficiently nourish all the movie's characters and subplots. Hence, the director is forced to choose forced twists that, as a consequence, become obvious and that in the end take away some merit from a movie that, for the way it has been crafted, directed and acted, could have been something better and could have left the spectator with something more than just a striking balance of humor and sadness, a remarkable cinematography, with the excellent special effects of the dry Tiber and the amazing lighting, and the great, even if not homogeneous, cast's performances.
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