‘Does free will exist?’
The Laplace’s Demon is a 2017 Italian mystery thriller film directed by Giordano Giulivi from a screenplay co-written with Duccio Giulivi, based on a story by Silvano Bertolin, Ferdinando D’Urbano. The movie stars the latter three writers.
The Laplace demon is a mathematical theory, which supposes that, if someone knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, they could predict everything down to the smallest detail.
A team of scientists are invited to a remote island by a mysterious, eccentric man. The team discover a lift that leads up into the foreboding Gothic mansion perched on top of the sheer cliff edges that surround it and soon realise that they are part of a bizarre experiment themselves…
Fantasia Film Festival described the film thus: “The Laplace’s Demon unfolds like an all-time great Twilight Zone episode directed by the three-headed offspring of Guy Maddin, Mario Bava, and Val Lewton.”
“Ugly appearances are an impediment to immersion. The Laplace’s Demon’s jagged CGI eventually becomes part of its shaggy distinctness, as though cramming crudeness so relentlessly at last manipulates your mind into accepting it as a new form of fractured reality. But having to rely on homegrown technical tricks punches the story’s solar plexus regarding how seriously one can take it.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt
” …even if you feel that you know nothing about physics or literature or art, you may well still appreciate its inherent creepiness and its effectiveness as an old fashioned horror thriller. The only thing it really lacks is Vincent Price, but with a host of capable Italian actors who play their parts perfectly to type (the standout being newcomer Carlotta Mazzoncini), it has plenty going its favour.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“It has its moments and when the film excels, it really does excel but it just feels lacking to reach the film it could have – and occasionally shows signs of – being. Instead, it’s an impressive albeit hollow and terribly thin affair that is more bark than bite and more show than tell.” Awais Urwan, The Hollywood News
“The Laplace’s Demon is a (yet to be fully discovered) masterpiece in manipulation, style, nail-biting suspense and jaw-droppingly impressive story structure. Do. Not. Miss. It. “You’ll believe a man can fly” – or in this case – you’ll believe that chess pieces moving through a scale-model mansion, will be the most exciting and breathless thing you’ve seen in years.” Michael Klug, Horrorfreak News
“Shot in grainy black and white this felt like a very strange Twilight Zone episode. I never thought I would find either chess or maths terrifying but this film does just that. Highly recommended for fans of the very weird, if you can find it.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema
” …the art and set design, also overseen by G. Giulvi is absolutely crucial to the film’s success. Most people would agree it is hard to pull off human-sized killer chess pieces, but Giulvi manages to do it. The ultimate implications of Laplace are depressingly scary, but unlike the instantly stale The Circle, the overall film is so smart and inventive, we really don’t mind its philosophical upshot.” Joe Bendel, J.B. Spins
“The use of the model and the chess pieces seems like it should be awkward but actually works beautifully — a surprising amount of suspense can be derived from the clockwork performing its steady, impersonal duties. There’s an excellent build of tension as both pawns and characters disappear one by one, and the conversations on the independence of human thought never weigh things down.” The Movie Critic Next Door
“Evoking a bit of early Mario Bava-style giallo, in combination with noir sharp light and shadow, gives this film an unusual, slow burn flair. The acting style is slightly heightened, a bit of exaggeration in a particular Italian style, making the characters arguably somewhat one-dimensional, but this is not necessarily a detriment.” Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy