The Deception of Sofia Coppola | Review


Published on Sep 22, 2017


The Deception didn't particularly impressed when I saw it in Cannes last may, but in view of the exit in the Italian cinemas are nicely returned to the cinema for a second viewing because the less it was a fun movie.

Of course, in retrospect, the prix de la mise en scène assigned to the Coppola appears all the more paradoxical, given that the many others would have been worthy of such recognition (I would like to avoid to define it as “gift”, then I limit myself with a “delivered with great generosity”), but the costume drama set at the end of the american civil war, developed by the daughter of the legendary Francis Ford C. is without a doubt a film worthy of being seen. Also a second time, why not. And in spite of his faults.

The second film adaptation of the novel by Thomas P. Cullinan A Painted Devil (already in 1971, Don Siegel had formed a film, The wild Night Of the Soldier, Jonathan, with Clint Eastwood), Deception tells the story of a union soldier who, wounded in battle, he is rescued and housed by the inhabitants of a female college in the state of Virginia.

Of course, the arrival of this attractive man (Farrell) in the school for women (Nicole Kidman), is the director, Kirsten Dunst is the teacher and five students have the faces of Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, after their visit to Laurence, Emma Howard, and Addison Riecke) will bring quite a stir in the quiet everyday life of the college, a beautiful mansion of white surrounded by nature.

I loved how Coppola has been the claustrophobia emanating from the microcosm of the college, which seems at the same time away from it all but close to everything (the soldiers southerners pass in those parts, but continues quickly, the noise of the bombs is clear and audible but not dangerous): the presence of the enemy soldier in a first moment, it is a source of discomfort among the inhabitants of the house – and the eight characters seem to be the only people left in an America torn apart by clashes intestines – but very soon the women will the knowledge of the man under the uniform and will begin to consider it not as a prisoner of war, but as their guest.

The photography of Philippe Le Sourd paints with images dazzling the small world staged by Coppola, giving the best of if in the frames natural on the outside of the mansion. The lighting realistic, made of candlesticks and oil lamps, draws in a great part of the atmosphere of Barry Lyndon and The Duelists (and could not be otherwise for a film that wants to be taken seriously) and sometimes everything is overwhelming and suffocating.

The best scene comes in the first minutes and sees Nicole Kidman to wash the dead body of Colin Farrell: the Coppola is talented to show us the sneaky sense of lust that begins to crawl inside the algid director, solleticarle the skin, but also to put it in the guard (really nice on the first floor on the dirty hands of the soldier, framed as if they were the hands of a dead man).

Unfortunately, the film always remains too composed, too elegantly. It is a film by the little finger raised, far removed from the impulses put on the scene by Siegel in the ’70s, never brutal, never strong, but, above all, strongly contradictory.

The character of Farrell, although the emblem of vice and perdition, never a negative character. If anything, it is the master of the house (the three of which we notice, excluding the Fanning, nicole Kidman and Dunst, the girls are indistinguishable from each other, and without any personality) to represent all the defects of this world: the Coppola paints its protagonists as being arrogant, manipulative, devious, slimy, arrogant, deeply envious, with a kindness that is only appearance and ways of doing things as stylish as they are fake.

A bit like this film.

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