Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/10/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Engaging Italian drama with a strong central performance from Nanni Moretti and colourful, scene-stealing support from Valeria Golino.

What's it all about?
Based on a best-selling novel (Sandro Veronesi's Caos Calmo), Quiet Chaos stars Nanni Moretti as successful businessman Pietro Paladini. One day, Pietro saves the life of a beautiful drowning woman (Isabella Ferrari as Eleonora) at the beach only to discover, when he returns home, that his wife has suddenly died and their 10-year-old daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi) is distraught.

On Claudia's first day back at school after the funeral, Pietro impulsively decides not to leave but simply to sit in the park opposite the school and wait for her. He then repeats this process every day and gradually, his work colleagues (Charles Berling and Hippolyte Girardot) and various family members (Valeria Golino as his sister-in-law; Alessandro Gassman as his brother) all come to visit him, as does Eleonora, who's seeking to make amends for not having thanked him after he saved her life.

The Good
Quiet Chaos takes some getting used to, because the plot doesn't unfold quite the way you expect – for example, Pietro's behaviour makes it seem as if he's having a nervous breakdown, but in fact, he's the calmest character in the film (the novel's literal translation is Calm Chaos). As such, Moretti is perfectly cast, facing every unfolding crisis (there's a merger at work and his colleagues are at each other's throats; his sister-in-law is a walking disaster zone) with implacable and ultimately infectious calm.

Yoshimi is extremely sweet as Claudia and Ferrari delivers a haunted and erotically-charged performance as Eleonora, but the stand-out is Valeria Golino, who steals every scene she's in as Marta.

The Bad
The main problems with the film are that the business-related sections of the film are rather dull by comparison. Similarly, Golino is sadly under-used – the film bursts into life whenever she appears and you really miss her when she's not around.

Worth seeing?
An emotionally engaging drama with strong performances, Quiet Chaos is definitely worth seeing.

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Content updated: 19/09/2018 17:59

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