The biggest suspense: As everything gets worse for everyone, will this consummate director's outraged worldview afford anyone any pity? At first you'll seethe — then your heart will ache.
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The film is more than just a chic thriller. Alongside its clear -- at times overly so -- depiction the pain and vanity of social inequality, Virzi and the fine cast explore the unhappiness of rich and poor alike in a society that measures a person’s value in terms of euros.
Paolo Virzì's Human Capital gives the tired trope of cutting between overlapping stories a welcome shot of adrenaline, using it not just to compare and contrast tangentially related stories, but to show how people caught up in their private dramas can overlook or misinterpret the people around them.
A slick, stylish drama, Human Capital starts as a class critique wrapped around a whodunit, and though the mystery elements have overtaken the social assessment by the final third, the pic remains an engrossing, stinging look at aspirational parvenus and the super-rich they emulate.
Although the thriller like approach makes the unveiling of the story intermittently interesting, Human Capital stumbles on its blandly predictable, two dimensional characters and the implausible melodrama of its latter stages.
It’s all handsomely managed, polished and professional, but the pieces are too neatly manufactured to feel as if anything is truly at stake.
It may be no more than the sum of its parts, and the slightly soap-operatic finale doesn’t entirely distract your attention from untied plot threads, but there is some great fancy footwork in the narrative and fierce satirical strokes that recall Tom Wolfe.
Shame that the plotting favours narrative intrigue over character depth, creating a film whose message is witnessed rather than felt.
What makes Human Capital a worthwhile experience is the way [Virzí] focuses on understanding his characters’ desires, rather than deriding them as unworthy.
From Visconti and Pasolini through to I Am Love, Italian cinema has a proud tradition of dramatising class tensions, but this feels more like a TV soap lost on the big screen. The dividends are disappointing.