Obscurely symbolic and dramatically inert, Roberto Petrocchi’s “The Shadow of the Giant” is a tepid period piece that meshes elements of folk tales and Gothic romances, with indifferent results. Homevid beckons.
Based on a story by Paola Capriolo, pic is set in the late 1800s at a remote, centuries-old army fortress. Accompanied by Adele (Margherita Buy), his beautiful wife, and Ottaviano (Nicolo Rapisarda), their young son, Capt. Eugenio (Arnaud Arbessier) arrives to take command of the small unit charged with guarding a nameless prisoner. No one knows much about the long-incarcerated inmate, who remains sealed in a tower room with a heavily draped window. But when the melancholy Adele begins to pass time by playing classical melodies on her piano, she’s inexplicably accompanied by violin music from the prisoner’s cell. Petrocchi apparently wants to say something meaningful about the various ways people imprison themselves, and how they transcend their loneliness. But his leisurely paced narrative never catches fire as compelling drama. Fine performances and attractive color lensing fail to relieve the tedium.