Come Undone Review

Being unfaithful to one's romantic partner is perhaps not unlike the act of defecation. Both can result in fleeting moments of euphoria and a blissful afterglow. Both are extremely common rituals, done while at least partially unclothed, that are best left without discussion. And, of some pertinence, both can make one quite uncomfortable when shown on film. That isn't to necessarily say the two things are otherwise on the same plane but they can, in these regards, deserve to be thought of together.

The recent Italian film Come Undone, directed by Silvio Soldini, focuses on infidelity, though it's presented in a manner which isn't terribly erotic and thus might as well be showing that other means of exhaustion mentioned above. The only real point of separation is that the extramarital vaginal penetration in this instance proves to be hurtful to a number of other characters in the film. There's Anna's boyfriend Alessio (Giuseppe Battiston), a rotund and schlubby-looking man who seems like a terribly nice guy but would rarely be considered alluring. He's a victim of Anna's affair with Domenico, as are Domenico's wife and young child. The participants nonetheless resist being intolerable. Both Anna (Alba Rohrwacher) and Domenico (Pierfrancisco Favino) are painted as regular folks who just happen to develop an attraction to one another. They also just happen to find time to trot off to a hotel room once a week for dirty, sweaty sex. It occurs when Domenico is supposed to be swimming and Anna has told her boyfriend that she's "working late."

Venture past the central conceit of Come Undone and it's a rather intriguing movie. This takes some work, to be sure, but there's hardly any other choice. Soldini, who also co-wrote the film and the story upon which it's based, frames the infidelity as central to the picture but he's wise enough to move beyond the potentially shallow surface of it. The whys are barely explored. It's boredom, perhaps. Regardless, the reasoning matters little. The individuals recognize a spark and prove unable to resist it. The consummation of such affection is difficult at times, a point that Soldini seems eager to emphasize. They are interrupted in various ways yet never seem to take the hint. Their lust knows (almost) no bounds. Come Undone, however, is more clever and it shows its lovers in a very earnest way without coming down too heavily on either side of permissibility. It's almost too easy to condemn or judge Anna and Domenico even if the film goes to great lengths to resist such a reaction.

What Come Undone resiliently projects is a sense of humanity to its subjects. It shows them as normal, flawed individuals whose actions are primarily human, and thus imperfect. That's not the same thing as supporting or endorsing those decisions. But it's effective in being nonjudgmental. The film can be somewhat one-note in this idea, though it persists in being almost morbidly fascinating simply for creating a pair of situations, both between Anna and her significant other and Domenico and his, that cannot help but be so awkward. What will the reactions be upon learning of their lovers' unfaithfulness? Or will they manage to not get caught? It's easy, too, to insert yourself into the shoes of virtually every character in the movie, for better or worse. You can consider your own potential behavior in these situations. Films of this sort play out as inevitably messy. Come Undone, assuming you have an unsavory appetite for such fare, is done well enough so as to keep most all considerations in check.


The Disc

Come Undone is labeled as "Film 9, Year 8" by Film Movement, an American label specializing in "award winning independent and foreign films" for DVD release. The R1 disc is dual-layered.

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Despite being interlaced, with mild combing, the transfer makes for a fairly good standard definition presentation. Colors appear true and rendered well. Detail, while best in close-ups, is fine throughout the film. There are no marks or other damage in the picture. A bit of noise might be visible but nothing unreasonable.

Audio is an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 track that allows dialogue and music to be emitted cleanly. It doesn't struggle to be heard but there's also only modest depth in this two-channel track. English subtitles are optional and yellow in color.

Each Film Movement release includes a short film and here it's the unrelated "12 Years" (3:35), written and directed by Daniel Nocke. This animated short has two dogs, a male and a female, sitting in a restaurant. The male dog is ending their long-term relationship, which the female dog doesn't take so well. It's short, painless, and mildly amusing.

The disc also contains text screen biographies of director Silvio Soldini and actors Alba Rohrwacher, Pierfrancesco Favino and Giuseppe Battiston and a trailer (1:37) for Come Undone. Film Movement additionally included a handful of trailers for some of its other releases.


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