Like his previous film, Days And Clouds, Silvio Soldini's latest middlebrow drama focuses on the possible disintegration of an upper-middleclass couple's relationship. In Days outside forces like job loss and economic pressures threatened to destroy a lengthy relationship; here, the threat is internal, as vaguely discontent Anna (Alba Rohrwacher) puts her relationship with tubby Bruno (Fabio Troiano) aside in favor of steamy hotel sex with hunky Domenico (Pierfrancesco Favino), whose marriage undergoes predictable attendant friction. There are no surprises in this tale, filmed with deliberately deglamorized handheld camera (yet inexplicably in widescreen); it puts the "adult" in "adultery drama," if by "adult" you mean joyless bores. Commercial prospects are limited.
Come Undone opens in the middle of night, when Anna's sister calls her in labor as her husband's working the graveyard shift. Anna and reliable Bruno rush over and help out. Bruno wants a child, but Anna isn't sure. Unflappably genial and calm, Bruno doesn't pick up on anything as Anna commences an affair obscured by lies. Whether Anna wants sex or love is initially unclear. The film's sole innovation is to switch from the usual perspective of the adulterous male to that of a woman who straightforwardly pursues what she wants.
There's nothing precisely off about the film; nonetheless, it's heavily symbolic in hamfisted ways, beginning with the opening birth that underscores the couple's reluctance to take the next step in their own relationship. Bruno is skilled at fixing and installing things, from re-paneling the bathroom to repairing a broken portable record player, but the film's tiresome point is that the only thing he can't fix is a relationship he didn't know was broken. Similarly, as Anna sits in bed grinning at the text message for an assignation she's received, Bruno reads a Jim Morrison quote out loud about how life can change in a second. Similar instances of overstatement crowd the film.
The non-exploitative verisimilitude of the sex scenes provides the film some minor grace notes. The unusually meticulous logistics of conducting an affair at pay-by-the-hour hotels contributes to a refreshingly unemphatic portrait of overworked but unsettled young Italian professionals. Gisella Burinato as Anna's chain-smoking, emotion-shunning aunt is a welcome curmudgeon in a movie that otherwise goes out of its way to show nice people acting poorly.
Distributor: Film Movement
Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Pierfrancesco Favino, Teresa Saponangelo, Giuseppe Battiston, Fabio Troiano and Gisella Burinato
Director: Silvio Soldini
Screenwriters: Silvio Soldini & Doriana Leondeff & Angelo Carbone
Producers: Lionello Cerri and Ruth Waldburger
Genre: Drama; Italian- and French-languages, subtitled
Running time: 126 min
Release date: December 3 NY