HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Guru the Mad Monk
Jezebel
Monos
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
   
 
  Arrival of Wang, The Is that a promise or a threat?!Buy this film here.
Year: 2011
Director: Antonio Manetti, Marco Manetti
Stars: Ennio Fantastichini, Francesca Cuttica, Juliet Esey Joseph, Antonello Morroni, Li Yong, Jader Giraldi, Rodolfo Baldini, Furrio Ferrari, Angelo Nicotra, Massimo Triggiani
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: In Rome, Gaia (Francesca Cuttica), an interpreter fluent in Mandarin Chinese, agrees to take on a well-paying but extremely mysterious job. Blindfolded and transported to a secret location, she is introduced to the terse and edgy Inspector Curti (Ennio Fantastichini). He brings Gaia into a darkened room where she is called on to translate his questions to a hidden, Chinese-speaking prisoner known only as Mr. Wang (voiced by Li Yong). Gaia grows increasingly uncomfortable in the face of Curti’s aggressive interrogation of the politely bewildered Wang. She realises she is caught up in something dangerous, only to discover that Wang is in fact a squid-like alien visitor from outer space.

Science fiction fan turned film director Luigi Cozzi once claimed the Italian public had no interest in his favourite genre, going so far as to maintain it was the one country where Star Wars (1977) proved a box office flop. Regardless of the veracity of that statement, the fact is the Italian film industry flirted repeatedly with science fiction over brief periods of cracked creativity, from the pop art space operas spawned by Antonio Margheriti and Mario Bava in the mid-Sixties, to Alfonso Brescia’s run of shoddy Star Wars rip-offs in the late Seventies and the post-apocalyptic action films of the Eighties. What is remarkable about L’Arrivo di Wang (The Arrival of Wang) is that not only have sibling filmmakers Antonio and Marco Manetti revived a genre seemingly in hibernation throughout the past thirty years, but have done so with arguably Italy’s most provocative, idea-driven science fiction movie. Which makes it all the more frustrating that the film leaves such a sour after-taste, but we will get into that later.

Aside from a climactic swerve into epic spectacle, the film largely shuns Hollywood gloss in favour of minimalistic, claustrophobic tension. Smartly scripted and often genuinely suspenseful with taut direction from the Manetti brothers, the film feels in some ways like a throwback to the paranoid American science fiction thrillers of the Fifties, centred largely around two forceful and compelling characterisations from Francesca Cuttica and co-star Ennio Fantastichini. After her initial alarm at being faced with an extraterrestrial, Gaia’s sympathies increasingly shift towards Wang. While the alien insists he is an emissary of peace, Curti steadfastly refuses to believe him. His escalating brutality confuses and enrages the liberal-minded Gaia.

As events unfold it becomes clear the Manetti brothers are shaping their story into a post-9/11 allegory, commenting on the use of torture in interrogating suspected terrorists. With Gaia and Curti embodying both sides of the argument, the film takes a bold step in asking whether torture can ever be justified. Gaia clings to her belief that any living being, even an alien, is entitled to basic “human” rights while Curti maintains such principles just don’t apply to a hideous green invader from outer space. On the one hand, Curti appears to embody every paranoid liberal’s idea of a fascistic employee of the state: implacably dim, belligerent, and irrationally violent. Yet the sheer force of his conviction injects a note of unsettling ambiguity.

The special effects, while perhaps a notch below Hollywood standards, are still eye-catching and imaginative. In fact the post-production process took so long the Manettis were able to complete their horror film Paura 3D (2012) during the wait. Wang himself is a vivid and expressive CGI creation, treading a fine line between inscrutable and sympathetic. Alas, the film is far from perfect. Its chief flaw rests with the hackneyed climax that, aside from the fact it leaves the film looking like a Twilight Zone episode expanded uncomfortably to feature length, undermines all the preceding messages about tolerance and understanding for the sake of a cheap punchline. Ultimately, the film reinforces reactionary ideals and takes great relish in chastising liberal sympathy as at best misguided or to use its own closing word: “stupid.”

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1852 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: