Gray may be the new black for fashion, but it's a dull color scheme for helmer Giuliano Montaldo's "The Entrepreneur."

Gray may be the new black for fashion, but it’s a dull color scheme for helmer Giuliano Montaldo’s “The Entrepreneur.” Looking to emphasize the chill of Turin winters along with the deeper frigidity of the 1% industrialist class, Montaldo creates a tiresome, near-colorless world in which the occasional red contrast is too little, too late. While well played with some effective scenes, the pic resists fully engaging with its nascent capitalist critique, gumming it up with a standard jealousy tale that could have come from a hundred other scripts. No more than modest returns can be predicted.

Stressed factory owner Nicola (Pierfrancesco Favino) needs refinancing pronto to save his company, but the banks won’t help unless he gets wife Laura (Carolina Crescentini) or her venal mother (Elisabetta Piccolomini), ultra-wealthy local brahmins, to co-sign. Nicola’s pride stands in the way, and his self-isolation is straining his marriage. Laura strikes up a friendship with garage attendant Gabriel (Eduard Gabia), though she refuses his advances; Nicola spies on the two and suspects the worst. Discussions of Italy’s economic crisis and occasional scenes of workers’ protests are no more than flavor additives.

The Entrepreneur

Italy

Production

A 01 Distribution release of a Bibi Film, Rai Cinema presentation of a Bibi Film production in collaboration with Rai Cinema. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced by Angelo Barbagallo. Directed by Giuliano Montaldo. Screenplay, Andrea Purgatori, Montaldo.

Crew

Camera (color), Arnaldo Catinari; editor, Consuelo Catucci; music, Andrea Morricone; production designer, Francesco Frigeri; costume designer, Elisabetta Montaldo. Reviewed at Casa del Cinema, Rome, Jan. 10, 2012. (In 2011 Rome Film Festival -- noncompeting.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Pierfrancesco Favino, Carolina Crescentini, Eduard Gabia, Elena di Cioccio, Elisabetta Piccolomini, Andrea Tidona, Mauro Pirovano, Gianni Bissaca, Roberto Alpi, Francesco Scianna.

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