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aka - Pure Formality, A
France/Italy 1994
Directed by
Guiseppe Tornatore
108 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

Pur Formalite, Une

Onoff (Gérard Depardieu) is a famous writer who hasn't published a new book for a long  time and has become a recluse. When he is picked up by the police one stormy night an Inspector (Roman Polanski) interrogates him about a mysterious killing..

On the surface Une Pur Formalité appears to be a murder mystery, and whilst this sleight-of-hand is beguiling, to some extent it works against the film as one watches with certain generic expectations (of plot twists and revelations) which are never fulfilled. Notwithstanding, director Guiseppe Tornatore, who co-wrote the film with Pascal Quignard, has conceived and skilfully presented an original and fascinating way of depicting an individual's examination of his own self, a stripping away of layers of self-deception andDepardieu and Polanksi are both in top form in what is for all purposes a two-hander. 

There is little plot to speak of and it's a long, dark and wet night's journey to the light, but it is a trip well worth taking.




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