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DON'T MOVE

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It's hard to care about the protagonists in Sergio Castellitto's plodding melodrama. Castellitto portrays an urbane doctor, Timoteo, who makes a mistress of an ignorant country girl, Italia, after raping her. The film unfolds in a nonlinear fashion, as the middle-aged Timoteo reflects on his double life: early days with Italia, his relatively loveless marriage, a couple unexpected pregnancies and the general ennui of the affluent classes -- all very familiar fare. Timoteo is a deceiving, shallow snake, with only his teen-age daughter to redeem him (again, hardly a novel plotline), and the character of Italia (played by Penelope Cruz, grubbed up in a bad wig and hillbilly teeth) simply reads as pathetic. The film's execution is mannered and self-conscious, right from its opening aerial shot. I sensed that Castellitto studied every one of his countryman Fellini's films -- who, after all, cornered the market on the psychic woes of middle-aged Italian men -- only to fall short. In Italian, with subtitles.

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