Agloomy pic about members of a theater company who are researching a project on pain and personal violence, “The Secret Cause” will likely remain a secret in most territories.
Sergio Bianchi’s flat, didactic direction contains few surprises as the disparate group of thesps, under the inevitable autocratic director, discovers the horrors of modern life, via a visit to an AIDS clinic and firsthand experience with poverty and violence.
Results are entirely predictable, with one actor getting off on the violence (an especially nasty scene has him holding a live rat over a flame and enjoying it) and others reacting with anger to the way they’re being manipulated.
Pic ends with the play’s successful opening night, but, outside its home turf , where the issues and the way in which they’re handled here may have an impact, the film is far too self-important and dull to find audiences.
Tech credits are modest but adequate.