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Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere) (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes. Interview with Penelope Cruz. Making of. 'Writer Comments' featurette. Photo gallery. Trailer.

PENELOPE Cruz has won two acting awards for her performance in Sergio Castellitto's provocative Don't Move, a compelling, frequently unsettling tale of obsessive love and missed opportunity.

The actress completely transforms herself for the role, appearing as a down-at-heel cleaner, with dodgy teeth and borderline anorexic frame, who begins a self-destructive affair with a surgeon that seems destined for tragedy from the outset.

It is a performance far-removed from her Hollywood work thus far that is likely to leave viewers as uncomfortable as they might be impressed.

Yet it helped her to win the best actress Donatello Award and best actress European Film Award at the 2004 ceremonies.

Amazingly, however, she is not the best thing in the movie, which focuses on Dr Timoteo Rossi (played by writer-director, Castellitto), who is forced to confront his past when Angela, his teenage daughter, slips into a coma following a near-fatal accident.

The film opens with a tantalising overhead shot of the accident itself, as paramedics rush to assist Angela, befoe rushing her to the hospital where her father works as a surgeon.

Rather than operate on his daughter himself, however, Dr Rossi opts to wait on the sidelines, desperate for her to pull through, yet torn apart by the sins of his past which may just be catching up with him.

As Angela fights for her life on the operating table, Dr Rossi recalls his own torrid existence, from his fractured relationship with his wife, Elsa (Claudia Gerini), to his exploitative affair with Cruz's cleaner, Italia.

It is a relationship that begins with rape, and which frequently places Italia at the whim of Rossi's sexual fantasies, but which eventually becomes their reason for living.

When Rossi's wife, Elsa, announces she is pregnant, however, all three are faced with near-impossible decisions.

Based on the novel by Castellitto's own wife, Margaret Mazzantini, Don't Move is a compelling if flawed experience that revels in its ability to pull its audience in many different directions.

Central to this is Castellitto, whose terrifically complex portrayal of Dr Rossi is capable of inspiring as much repulsion as sympathy at different points.

He is selfish, violent and abusive, yet his anxiety as a father and lover, late on, is both moving and affecting.

Given the mixture of sentiment, however, the movie could well offend as many viewers as it inspires, not least in the way it allows Cruz's character to become dominated by Dr Rossi.

As such, their motivations become difficult to empathise with, making the film a frequently cold and uncomfortable experience.

For those willing to follow Don't Move through to its emotional conclusion, however, there is plenty to admire.

(Italian, with subtitles)

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