Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
The tenuous relationship between two families comes under intense scrutiny in this vivid whodunit and Italian box office hit. Serena, daughter of a struggling real estate agent, has been going out with Massimiliano, party boy son of a hedge-fund millionaire. Serena’s father Dino sees an opportunity in this connection: in Dino, Massimiliano’s father Giovanni sees a sucker best avoided. Meanwhile Carla, Giovanni’s neglected trophy wife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, never better), hopes to endow a theatre restoration with her husband’s largesse. The network of characters affected – fatally or otherwise – by this confabulation of desire and money is extensive, and fleshed out with deadly accuracy by a superb cast.
“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 picture remains an engrossing, stinging look at aspirational parvenus and the super-rich they emulate. Perfectly cast with actors who give life to very recognizable Italian types, Capital confirms Paolo Virzì as one of the more dynamic directors on the peninsula, blending biting commentary with expert narrational skills…
In adapting Stephen Amidon’s novel, replacing Connecticut with the wealthy region of Brianza, near Milan, Virzì and his co-scripters mine local social mores to make the tale extremely Italian while retaining the novel’s potent message of capitalist greed and the chillingly low price put on human life.” — Jay Weissberg, Variety