On a wet winter night in Italy’s affluent north, a waiter is run off the road by an SUV and killed, entwining the fates of two families of very different social standing. Set against the aftermath of the European economic crash, secrets are everywhere, but vanity and greed are in plain view in a world where a person’s value is measured in euros.
Based on the novel by Stephen Amidon, Human Capital (dir. Paulo Virzi) is an engrossing thriller that paints a bleak and tragic portrait of current Italian society. Deceptively simple at first but building with perfect pace, Human Capital examines and reexamines the circumstances surrounding the accident with each of four chapters told from the perspective of a different character. Deceptions and cover-ups are deliberately and cleverly revealed right up to the final moments.
Dino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) is desperate to elevate himself above his middle-class existence and secretly mortgages his house while his wife Roberta (Valeria Golino) is pregnant with twins, in order to buy into the hedge fund run by the suave and unscrupulous Giovanni (Fabrizio Gifune). Dino’s daughter, Serena (Matilde Gioli) is dating Giovanni’s son, Massimiliano (Guglielmo Pinelli) and so the family are invited to join Giovanni and his wife Carla (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) at the VIP table of Massimiliano’s school awards ceremony.
Later that night the waiter is run off the road and as the police search closes in on both families it becomes clear that there are no innocents in this society of class inequality.
Human Capital was awarded Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the David di Donatello Awards 2014, as well as Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography at Nastri d’Argento 2014.
Brilliant performances across the stellar cast also saw the film bag Best Leading Actress (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), Best Supporting Actor (Fabrizio Gifune) and Best Supporting Actress (Valeria Golino) at David di Donatello and Best Leading Actor (Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Fabrizio Gifune) at Nastri d’Argento.
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Director: Paulo Virzi
Language: Italian (with English subtitles)
Run Time: 109 mins
Rating: MA15+ (Strong sex scenes and course language)
“An elegant Chinese puzzle of a movie, deftly constructed by director Virzì, and boosted by an array of strong performances.”
- Mark Kermode, The Observer
“★★★★ Superbly played, designed and photographed, this is a worthy companion to Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty.”
- David Parkinson, Radio Times
“This slick, stylish fusion of class critique and murder mystery confirms Paolo Virzì as one of Italy’s more dynamic directors.”
- Jay Weissberg, Variety