Refreshingly real, “One Out of Two” furthers helmer Eugenio Cappuccio’s reputation for depicting contempo Italian life as it is, rather than through the Hallmark sentiments of many of his countrymen. Drama about a brash lawyer who comes face to face with mortality, and the discovery of life’s purpose, pushes Cappuccio closer toward the commonplace than necessary, but characterization is true and widescreen lensing accomplished. Item would be a good pickup for fests looking for Italo fare.
As with his previous, more light-hearted “To Sleep Next to Her,” Cappuccio presents a go-getter suddenly confronted by a life-changing crisis: Lorenzo (Fabio Volo, charismatic) blacks out one day and awakens in hospital with the possibility of a malignant brain tumor. A lawyer who pulled himself up from working-class roots, he’s a high flier with a good job; an attractive g.f., Silvia (Anita Caprioli); and a great apartment overlooking Genoa’s harbor.
Illness was definitely not in Lorenzo’s plans, and lying back and waiting for the test results isn’t so easy, especially with everyone treating him like a delicate time bomb. Only one who understands is hospital mate Giovanni (onetime Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli, in a very different role), who provides a much-needed island of patience and humor.
But truck driver Giovanni has unfinished business himself — a daughter he hasn’t seen in years. Rather than going crazy at home waiting for the doctor’s call, Lorenzo goes off to Umbria to track down the teenager, Tresy (Tresy Taddei), and bring her back to Genoa.
Pic begins with Lorenzo talking a mile a minute, the camera beautifully keeping up with his movements until the fateful collapse. Then, suddenly, everything slows down, including speech. With an eye for detail, helmer Cappuccio makes sure Lorenzo’s head bandage is never out of sight for long — the perfect visual reinforcement of his inability to escape his fear of mortality.
Where pic is weaker, especially in the second half, is in capturing Lorenzo’s relationships with the people around him. Silvia disappears just when their strained partnership becomes interesting, and the quest for Tresy, which takes a very “Lost in Translation” turn, hasn’t the force to back up Lorenzo’s acceptance of life’s traumas. With five credited scripters, it’s not surprising there are faults in overall cohesion.
Still, Cappuccio has a firm control of the film’s changing rhythms, and ace d.p. Gian Filippo Corticelli again proves his ease behind the camera, with especially impressive scenes in both Genoa and the Umbrian hills. Other tech credits are pro.