Giallo refers to a genre similar to the French fantastique genre and includes elements of horror fiction and eroticism. The word giallo is Italian for "yellow" and stems from the origin of the genre as a series of cheap paperback novels with trademark yellow covers (graverobbed from Wikipedia). So the title of this movie is the name of the genre from which it hails and potentially could refer to the color yellow. Either way I do not think it is indicative of it’s definition, species, race, religious affiliation or other protected class. Giallo, the film not the genre or the color, sucked and before you get huffy, Argento fans who may not agree with the aforementioned “suck”, let me tell you why.
First and foremost this little film is about a serial killer. The old boy likes to take pictures of his kills for “naughty reasons” (please, this is a family blog). His name is “Yellow” which, as stated before, is what giallo means in Italian. So the name of the genre is the name of a color and the name of this film and the killer. Detective Enzo Avolfi much track and capture Yellow before he kills again. Will he catch him? Will he not catch him? Enter the suckfest.
So before I get into it, what do you like about Giallo (the genre not the color yellow… we’ll move onto favorite colors later)? Well I love Dario Argento. The volume of his work dedicated to said genre is incredible. Most recently you have Sleepless, Stendhal Syndrome, Trauma which don’t really define why Argento is “the big awesome” in this genre; to really get into an Argento Giallo picture you need to go way back to Tenebrae, Opera, Deep Red, Cat O’ Nine Tails and Bird with the Crystal Plumage for certain. Go dig up some Mario Bava, Lenzi and Martino as well… you’ve got yourself a friggin’ genre full of the greats. I can safely say that I haven’t seen enough Giallo to be an expert. I’m very comfortable saying that. I’ve seen films like Don’t Torture a Duckling, and I think I’ve understood them (they were about boning younger men, right?). Classic elements of this genre should include but are not limited to hot sexy murder with lots of scantily clad or naked womens (incorrect plural intended) being butchered by faceless killers to dissonant scores composed by evil geniuses and the killer-reveal typically plays out like the ending of an episode of Scooby Doo, Where Are You? I’m absolutely positive that Scooby Doo and Giallo have a common nexus that should be explored in a collegiate term paper (aside from the sexy, violent death and Italian part of course).
Here’s the pin in this hand grenade. Giallo (movie) wasn’t sexy. Adrien Brody doesn’t put on his sexy face and make you want to play doctor. His acting is flat. This is not the thoughtful Adrien Brody of Splice. This is the Adrien Brody who is going through the motions. Even Emmanuelle Seigner does not bring you her inner Marvin Gaye which is huge surprise given her sex appeal in other films (read the Ninth Gate… hot). I adore her. Her performance saddens me and forces me to watch the Ninth Gate again (not that I need to be forced to watch that beautiful god damn picture). The sexual arousal the killer gets from his souvenir pictures of his victims is laughable. It’s like Benny Hill Goes to Italy with a Hustler magazine and a box of tissues. So I’m missing sexy time here which is probably really subjective, so I’ll move on to fact (subject point) numero dos.
Giallo (the color? No the moooooovie) does not have a chilling, disturbing-to-the-ear soundtrack. You know who did the music for Giallo? Well it wasn’t Goblin or Morricone. It was Marco Werba who won the Fantasy Horror Cine Festival for his work on Giallo. And in response to this I say, “the Fantasy Horror Cine Festival should have looked harder or the number and quality of entrants was not up to par that year”. It’s not bad music by any means. It’s not what I have come to expect from a genre that prides itself on the strangeness of its accompaniment. It’s standard Hollywood creep out with “jump scare” built right into the crescendo.
Last but certainly not least, I give you… the MYSTERY… or lack there of. When I see a killer’s face too soon in a picture I get bummed unless it forces me to redefine that character. They have to take on new attributes and develop. Ladies and germs, your killer in Giallo will not take on any attributes that will surprise you. You will see him too soon in the picture. You will know who he is and by the end of it… you won’t care. It’s more like dressing up a Ken doll to lay with Barbie then defining a substantial killer who you actually give a hoot about. I like to see the bad guy caught at the end of a film as much as the next eight year old boy. I root for the good guy (might be lying about that part). I equally love to root for the killer/slasher/hacker. I’ll vascilate between good guy and bad guy in the same picture. Eventually you probably pick one and the chips fall where they may. If I don’t care whether Adrien Brody catches the killer and I don’t want the killer to win either… then I want them both to get killed by a third party killer who I like a whole lot better, or I want the movie to turn itself off, rewind itself, return itself to the video store and I better not get a late fee. Is there a surprise twist… if there wasn’t Argento wouldn’t have made the movie at all. It’s just not worth the wait.
Combine the whole thing with Adrien Brody having to sue to get just compensation for his work, blocking the film and you’ve got me kind of put off. Yes the movie gets released, but when an actor has to sue to get paid either you’ve got some idiot producers who don’t realize that there is such a thing as bad publicity or the actor himself doesn’t want to see the movie distributed because it’s garbage. Now Brody has said that he loved the process of making the film etc. So I’d be speculating as to the later, but I kinda wished this one didn’t make it to the screen (large or small).
Somebody broke my crossed fingers; crossed because I was hoping we’d have another Bird with the Crystal Plumage or Deep Red. I’ll have to wait another year I suppose. Get older. Watch the crows feet mount an assault on my eyes. Now they only thing I have to worry about is Argento sending one of this many antagonists to get me in my sleep. I guess if the room takes on a strange red and blue tint, and I heard obscure flute music playing to my every step I’ll know the end is nigh.
Oooo…. Wait… stop the credits… I forgot one last thing. The poster art for this is in-fucking-credible. I love the simplicity. I love the minimalism. It made this movie so much worse to know that there was a great poster out there that couldn’t be held up by the movie it advertises… that is all.