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The Accidental Detective

The public's fascination with art-world fakes is sorely abused by scripter-helmer Vanna Paoli's amateurish mystery, "The Accidental Detective." Shot in 2000, with an international cast, unatmospheric pic has little to attract either art lovers or sleuthing fans. Its only foreseeable offshore future lies on small screens.

With:
With: David Kriegel, Cristina Moglia, Sarah Miles, Thomas Arana, Donald Sinden, Paolo Bonacelli, Philippe LeRoy, Sergio Fantoni, Franco Interlenghi, Sergio Bini Bustric, Carlo Monni, Anna Campori, Maurizio Seracini.

The public’s fascination with art-world fakes is sorely abused by scripter-helmer Vanna Paoli’s amateurish mystery, “The Accidental Detective.” Shot in 2000, with an international cast, unatmospheric pic has little to attract either art lovers or sleuthing fans. Its only foreseeable offshore future lies on small screens.

The settlement of a wealthy collector’s estate is held up when it’s discovered the deceased purchased a palace in Florence. Inexperienced lawyer David Bailey (David Kriegel) is sent to investigate and learns that a long-lost Botticelli may be hidden within the palace walls. Predictably, he falls in love with Dianora (Cristina Moglia), daughter of resident Countess Mazzi Tinghi (Sarah Miles, somnolent).

Script deliberately keeps the audience guessing whether said painting is real or fake, but denouement is as unexciting as the opening of Al Capone’s safe. As the lead, Yank thesp Kriegel is singularly lacking in charisma, and supports are execrably acted. Only the up-and-coming Moglia, as the daughter, succeeds in appearing natural, but there’s not much for her to work with here. Shot in English but released locally in dubbed Italian, widescreen pic succeeds in making even Florence look bland.

The Accidental Detective

Italy

Production: An Istituto Luce release of a Corvo Cinematografica production. (International sales: Adriana Chiesa, Rome.) Produced by Mariano Arditi. Directed, written by Vanna Paoli, based on the novel "La scritta sul vetro" by Cristina Acidini.

Crew: Camera (color, Panavision widescreen) Franco Di Giacomo, Carlo Tafani, Blasco Giurato; editors, Vanna Paoli, Fiorenza Muller; music, various; production designer, Andrea Crisanti; costume designer, Linda Nervi Taviani. Reviewed at Cinema Quattro Fontane, Rome, Apr. 27, 2003. Original title: The Accidental Detective. Italian dialogue. Running time: 105 min.

With: With: David Kriegel, Cristina Moglia, Sarah Miles, Thomas Arana, Donald Sinden, Paolo Bonacelli, Philippe LeRoy, Sergio Fantoni, Franco Interlenghi, Sergio Bini Bustric, Carlo Monni, Anna Campori, Maurizio Seracini.

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