ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Giallo (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Dario Argento

Starring:
Adrian Brody/Avolfi
Emmanuelle Seigner/Linda
Elsa Pataki/Celine
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A yellow skinned, dumb-dumb serial killer (Brody) kidnaps hot chicks using his cab and then goes about torturing them and making them pretty no more. It’s up to fag sucker (cigarettes that is) Enzo Avolfi (Brody) and the latest victim’s sister (Seigner) to find the yellow bastard and nip his chica tormenting ways in the bud.
THE LOWDOWN
Even though I pretty much gave up on Dario Argento ever giving me another genre masterpiece like DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA or TENEBRA, I will still watch every damn movie he puts out. Why? Cause, he’s f*cking Dario Argento, that’s why! The man has beyond proven himself via his lengthy and diverse filmography and on a personal note; he has been an unparalleled inspiration as a film fan and a filmmaker in the works. So you bet your dead ass, I was looking forward to GIALLO for the sole reason that it had Argento doing his thing behind the camera. And after the utterly idiotic tits and gore farce that was MOTHER OF TEARS, I had a hard time believing that this one could be worse. Was it?

Well, for better and for worse, GIALLO reminded me of THE CARD PLAYER (but with gore) in terms of overall quality and feel. Its initial premise and visual execution were fairly basic (Dario’s old school flair did kick in now and again though – loved the camera work/style during the flashbacks) and its chain of events was more predictable than me dropping a hooker joke in one of my putrid, self indulgent, so called reviews.

Gratuitous Hooker joke: What do you tell a Hooker with 2 black eyes? Nothing. You've already told her twice! BOOYA!

With that in mind, it’s a credit to GIALLO that it reeled me in at frame one and pretty much kept me wiggling on its hook for at least half of its kill time. Yup I was engrossed with the characters no matter how stock they were and dug following them around as they tried to break the case. I also boogied to the unseen killer’s Hostel-ish torturing of sexy chicks. Some pretty mean, misogynist (hey its Argento – it comes with the package) and graphic stuff going on here! Nice and…OUCH! I winced at least once! So yeah, even though there was nothing novel at play here - at least I was having fun. Much like a sedated lady that performs sexual services in exchange for currency (cash or credit), sometimes the familiar goes down smooth and this was just one of them times.

Gratuitous Hooker joke #2: What's the difference between an onion and a hooker? You don't cry when you chop up the hooker!

Technically; the musical score went from adequate to so out of place it was distracting (I missed Claudio Simonetti big time) while the cinematography by Frederic Fasano (Do You like Hitchcock and Mother of Tears) was all right, nothing more or less (could have been richer). Acting wise, I was told by many that Adrian Brody gave the worst performance as the cop with a past and straight up; I don’t know what everybody’s boggle is. Sure he randomly played up to the camera a bit too much (mugging or out of place hand gestures) but on a whole I dug his chain smoking, morose and low key show. Reminded me of them characters in old film noir Detective movies. He fit right in with GIALLO’S M.O. in my book! The same went for Brody’s co stars. Still hot Emmanuelle Seigner did the emotional and controlled hysterical thang convincingly while Pataki did the out there hysterical thang. I believed her too; although it crossed my mind that Pataki’s character should have chilled when it came to losing her beans on the killer. I mean the wacko has you tied up – you've seen him slaughter - maybe insulting him is not the best way to go about it… but hey I’m not a hot chick with firm tits and a bump-bump ass – so what do I know...?

Gratuitous Hooker joke #3: What's the difference between a dead hooker on the road and a dead cat on the road? There are skid marks in front of the dead cat!

Alas the whole thing flew to ShitsVille first class at about the halfway mark. Ya see up to that point the film was kinda going with its title, keeping to the Giallo subgenre (one that Argento helped make famous via DEEP RED, TENEBRA etc),by serving a mystery and a black gloved killer. And I really hoped that the picture would carry on with that jive all the way through. No dice. Ya see, the word giallo also means the color YELLOW in Italian, which happens to be the loon’s name. So ya can imagine my face when the whodunit was suddenly given away in a slap dash, logic out the window who gives a shit fashion (hospital bit – awful scene) and I discovered that GIALLO was gonna play another game. Once the murderer’s identity and raison d’etre were revealed, the story switched tracks and took the jokey path. What a crappy villain this killer wound up being! WOW! He looked like Rambo's retard brother with his big nose and bigger 80's hair. It didn’t help matters that in an odd move, Adrian Brody tackled the role of the psycho. The result was; an overacting laced, caricature of a part with obvious prosthetic/makeup. Talk about loading your piece with blanks! Why they just didn’t cast a local unknown and give us a real and truly frightening nutcase is beyond me. Brody playing both roles = AWFUL IDEA!

And the chain of events that followed didn't fare much better. The flick became trivial, ridiculous while sporting shoddy plot turns right up to its unsatisfying conclusion. Granted the protagonist’s character arc was damn slick, but other than that – MEH on that ending. I’m not sure what Argento’s intent was with this bitch; a straight thriller, a comedy, a parody, a mix of all… who knows? One thing is for sure, it wasn't clear and didn’t work for me. So there ya have it; another fascinating miss-step by Mr. Argento. You gonna tap this hoe with the Crystal Plumage or what?
GORE
The goods were in the house on this round. Am yapping; a syringe in the face, a slit throat, a crushed skull (with a hammer no less), slicing of ones lip, a cut off finger, a grisly stabbing, blood galore and more!
T & A
Lots of hot dames in this flick in varied forms of undress. Alas the killer here was more interested in hurting his female victims than taking a peek under their bras. Sniffle, sniffle…
BOTTOM LINE
GIALLO had me partying in my seat for the right and wrong reasons. It sported a cool if not overly familiar initial premise some solid gore, a delicious mean streak, okay performances (Brody was fun 2 watch - love that dude) and a handful of stand out moments. Granted it owed more to HOSTEL than Argento’s Giallos of old but hey I took it anyways and cashed it. Bummer that that second half of the film stank up the joint. I have no idea what the f*ck that was all about. When its killer was put in the forefront, the whole she-bang fell apart. It lost all the edge that it had, became funny (intentional - unintentional - who cares) and wound up dragging its ass in the gutter till the end credits. Better than DO YOU LIKE HITHCOCK and MOTHER OF TEARS, an equal to THE CARD PLAYER but far from I CANT SLEEP aka SLEEPLESS (his last decent flick IMO). Your move pilgrims! I leave you on this: What do you call it when you knock up a hooker? Proof of purchase.
BULL'S EYE
Vincent Gallo was gonna play the killer but left the production when his ex-fiancée Asia Argento was cast. Asia then quit and Emmanuelle Seigner filled in for her. Too bad, Gallo would have been great!

The flick was written by Jim Agnew and Sean Keller. Then Argento and Adrian Brody reworked the script.

Adrien Brody replaced Ray Liotta who wasn’t allowed to leave the USA at the time.

Adrian Brody is listed as co producer and I was told it was his idea to have him also play the killer.

Byron Diedra, the pseudonym Adrien Brody went under as the killer, is an anagram of his name.

Star Adrian Brody is engaged to Elsa Pataky who plays Celine in the film. The man has earned my respect.
Strikeback
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1:04AM on 10/04/2012

Dario Where Have You Gone

I first must admit I didn't hate Mother of Tears despite some undeniable flaws, but Giallo was truly a miserable attempt at returning to form for the former maestro of horror. There is not much going here, but an annoying Adien Brody vehicle that wreaks of hob wash. That's right hob wash. Enough said.
I first must admit I didn't hate Mother of Tears despite some undeniable flaws, but Giallo was truly a miserable attempt at returning to form for the former maestro of horror. There is not much going here, but an annoying Adien Brody vehicle that wreaks of hob wash. That's right hob wash. Enough said.
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