×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

At a Glance

Rome's contemporary art world forms the backdrop to multi-hyphenate Sergio Rubini's combination of Faustian drama and psychological thriller "At a Glance," a handsomely lensed but uninvolving game of cat and mouse between a powerful art critic and the sculptor who steals his g.f. The generally overblown story feels more indebted to the production designer than the three scripters, whose take on powerful art players stretches believability. Rubini's popularity as both a thesp and a helmer, combined with the attractions of heart-throb Riccardo Scamarcio, have kept B.O. strong, more than $4 million one month into the run.

With:
With: Sergio Rubini, Riccardo Scamarcio, Vittoria Puccini, Richard Sammell, Paola Barale, Emanuele Salce, Giancarlo Ratti, Giorgio Colangeli, Alexandra Prusa, Flavio Parenti.

Rome’s contemporary art world forms the backdrop to multi-hyphenate Sergio Rubini’s combination of Faustian drama and psychological thriller “At a Glance,” a handsomely lensed but uninvolving game of cat and mouse between a powerful art critic and the sculptor who steals his g.f. The generally overblown story feels more indebted to the production designer than the three scripters, whose take on powerful art players stretches believability. Rubini’s popularity as both a thesp and a helmer, combined with the attractions of heart-throb Riccardo Scamarcio, have kept B.O. strong, more than $4 million one month into the run.

Machiavellian art critic Pietro Lulli (Rubini) brings his significantly younger companion Gloria (Vittoria Puccini) to a group exhibition, where she admires a work by struggling artist Adrian Scala (Scamarcio). A former student of Lulli’s and his g.f. since she was 16, Gloria is ready to break away from the master, and within seconds she and Adrian are hot and heavy, ready to run off together to his quaint artist’s shack on the beach.

A short time passes, and the three bump into each other. Lulli turns overly solicitous to Adrian, setting himself up as protector and mentor of the young sculptor, though Gloria is suspicious of her former lover. In one of many parallels with “Rosemary’s Baby,” the loving couple rents an impossibly grand and inappropriate apartment, not bothering to question too much why their rent is ridiculously low.

Meanwhile, Lulli organizes a one-man show of Adrian’s plaster and chicken-wire sculptures, but the protege’s head has gotten too big and he tells Lulli he no longer needs his support.

Though Gloria starts as one of the major players, she’s soon relegated to little more than a whiny, intrusive presence whose character development is strangled somewhere between sophisticated companion, with pinned-up hair and chic suits, and annoying Cassandra, in relaxed clothes and loosened tresses.

An extended sequence of Adrian shooting her in the buff forms the false and gratuitous transition. Puccini (star of popular TV series “Elisa di Rivombrosa”) appears capable of more nuanced portrayals.

This unevenness infects the entire screenplay, which rarely manages to create much tension, though a chase sequence through the Venice Biennale is skilfully done. The Roman art world probably has never been more glamorously, or falsely, portrayed: not even in France do art critics travel in chauffeured cars and private jets.

Rubini relishes his role as the scheming critic, and Scamarcio, consciously trying to ditch his coverboy rep as he did with “My Brother Is an Only Child,” again proves there’s something developing behind his green eyes. Only Paola Barale, as Lulli’s co-conspirator Sonia, seriously falls down in the thesping department.

Most notable of all is the impressively versatile d.p. Vladan Radovic, whose sumptuous lensing of Rome, Venice and even the ruins of Ostia Antica highlights their beauties without making the oft-seen sites feel banal or tired. Following his remarkable work on Salvatore Mereu’s Berlin-preemed “Sonetaula,” Radovic again demonstrates, in a far different vein, why he’s one of the top cinematographers to watch.

At a Glance

Italy

Production: A 01 Distribution release of a Cattleya production, in collaboration with Rai Cinema. Produced by Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini, Marco Chimenz. Executive producers, Guido de Laurentiis, Matteo de Laurentiis. Directed by Sergio Rubini. Screenplay, Angelo Pasquini, Carla Cavalluzzi, Rubini.

Crew: Camera (color), Vladan Radovic; editor, Giogio Franchini; music, Pino Donaggio; production designer, Luca Gobbi; costume designers, Patrizia Chericoni, Florence Emir; sound (Dolby Digital), Tullio Morganti, Francesco Cucinelli; assistant director, Gianni Costantino; casting, Gianluca Greco. Reviewed at the Cinema Barberini, Rome, March 29, 2008. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: With: Sergio Rubini, Riccardo Scamarcio, Vittoria Puccini, Richard Sammell, Paola Barale, Emanuele Salce, Giancarlo Ratti, Giorgio Colangeli, Alexandra Prusa, Flavio Parenti.

More Film

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' to Soar Above Box Office Competition Over Memorial Day Weekend

    When Disney first released “Aladdin” in 1992, Bill Clinton was just settling in to the Oval Office, “Game of Thrones” wasn’t much more than a book idea percolating in the mind of author George R.R. Martin, and Johnny Carson was wrapping up his stint as “Tonight Show” host. In some ways, 2019 feels like a [...]

  • Daniel Dae Kim Hellboy

    Cannes: Daniel Dae Kim Joins Joe Penna’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Stowaway’

    Daniel Dae Kim, best known recently for ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” will join Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette in Joe Penna’s sci-fi thriller “Stowaway.” The movie marks the second feature from Penna and Ryan Morrison, the duo behind the Cannes Official Selection film “Arctic,” which released earlier this year. XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Karim Ainouz on Cannes Un Certain Regard's ‘The Invisible Life’

    CANNES  —  Karim Aïnouz’s “The Invisible Life” begins with two  sisters, not much over 20, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) sitting by the shore of one of the multiple bays around Rio de Janeiro, a lush tropical forest behind. They have all their life in front of them. Guida suddenly dashes off clambering [...]

  • Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire 'Portrait of

    Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire Celine Sciamma’s 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    Neon and Hulu have acquired North American rights to Céline Sciamma’s love story “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which premiered in competition at Cannes. Neon is planning a theatrical release for the film this year, which will include an awards campaign in all categories. The film is set in Brittany, France in 1770. Marianne [...]

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content