Is this the return of the master of horror? Is this what we always need to think any time Argento shoots a new film? Will it be a return to form? It’s a strange thing, why would we want a director to continue making the same style of film without progression or direction? For me, Argento has always had a style of his own, although drawn heavily from Bava and Hitchcock. Mastering the art through the 70’s with Giallo features, he eventually created his masterpiece Suspiria in ’77, unlike any film made before and probably after: a film of witchcraft and spiritual craziness. Inferno followed in a similar style, before Argento returned to the classic Giallo style, the ‘who done it?’, stalker in the shadows, black gloves and a sharp blade and has been criticised ever since. Why do we need to compare? Would we ever try to discuss the merits of Hitchcock’s Frenzy over Psycho?
Giallo, the title and genre of his new film staring Oscar winning Adrien Brody as an FBI agent working in Turin on a case of a serial killer whose MO is beautiful foreign women, models even. Linda, (Emmanuelle Seigner) is waiting for her sister to arrive from the USA, only to find she’s fallen victim to this serial killer, kidnapped and tortured. After pestering Inspector Enzo Avolfi (Brody) the pair explores every avenue to track down the killer before he finishes his job. Byron Deidra offers a great performance as Yellow, the maniac . (Cunningly, Giallo translates Yellow in Italian, also named after the crime novels from the 30’s)
What we have with Giallo is a homage to Argento’s former films. The plot is sleek and simple which allows room for some great camera work, which we are accustomed to with an Argento film. It’s stylish, well balanced and flows at an agreeable pace. Reminiscent shots are lifted from Profondo Rosso, Tenebre, Suspiria and Inferno, even Cat o’Nine Tails. The music is atmospheric, the gore is gruesome and shocking in places, acting is good and in classic style, Giallo offers a subtle twist as the titles roll. It’s an easy film to watch and doesn’t claim to be anything other than a simple giallo.
I never really expect anything from Argento any more, but I’m always hoping that he’ll craft a film again which will remind me of how bloody good he is. This film has done that for me and I might be alone in this view, but it’s given me such a good feeling. Italian films will be order of the day for the next few weeks.