GIALLO (2009) Reviews and overview


‘To catch a killer, you must live like one.’
Giallo [“Yellow”] is a 2009 Italian giallo horror film co-written and directed by Dario Argento from a screenplay co-written with Jim Agnew and Sean Keller. The movie stars Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner and Elsa Pataky.

In Turin, Italy, French flight attendant Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner) and Italian-American detective Enzo Avolfi (Adrien Brody) team up to find Linda’s younger sister Celine, a model.

Celine has been abducted by a serial killer known only as “Giallo” who kidnaps beautiful foreign women in his unlicensed taxi cab. After drugging them, the killer proceeds to mutilate and finally murder them whilst photographing his deeds.

Enzo receives a phone call from a fellow officer, who finds the body of an Asian woman outside a church near a fountain. They find out she’s still alive, and starts to speak in Japanese and via a translator is repeating the word “giallo”. At the morgue, Linda realises that the killer’s face could be yellow, a symptom of liver disease. They go to the hospital and find “Giallo” but he escapes…

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” …somehow as a comedy it really works – to the point where it actually is a grindhouse film for the current generation. Were it not for the fecund attempts at seriousness, it could be genuinely “fun”. As such it’s a film where the dull moments are elevated by the bad to create something that, in its own way, is genuinely worthwhile.” Ain’t It Cool News

“The story is painfully dull and refuses to deviate from an immediately foreseeable conclusion. Brody and Seigner practically sleepwalk through their performances, so much so it would be surprising if their first takes weren’t used in the final edit.” Sam Bowron, Digital Retribution

“this is a deeply disappointing work from a director who seems to be yellowing with age, his vision progressively jaundicing. After so many consecutive misfires, it might seem that Argento’s creative career is coming to an end. With a film like Giallo, he only builds the gallows higher.” Fangoria

Giallo was greeted with critical scorn, but I believe if it had any other director’s name affixed but Dario Argento, response may have been better. Not that it’s great, but it’s more serviceable than your average Hollywood killer thriller.” Rod Lott, Flick Attack

“The biggest problem lies with the titular killer who brings back bad memories of the duck quacking maniac from Lucio Fulci’s idiotic The New York Ripper (1982). Looking like the bastard lovechild of Rondo Hatton and a Russian rock star gone to seed, the villain’s croaky voice and Rambo bandana inspire derision from the offset.” The Spinning Image

“Ludicrous, craptastically made even by Argento’s usual low-budget standards, and not even remotely scary or amusingly campy — unlike its predecessor [The Mother of Tears], which at least has a so-bad-it’s-great following — this serial-killer story plays like a work for hire that no one had much fun working on.”  Variety

” …as a film from the Italian Master of Horror, Dario Argento it’s pretty weak. The gore is almost nonexistent as we only get a hammer to the head, finger cutting, and hand slashing. The flick is also low on Argento’s patented cinematic gymnastics and moves at a rather sluggish pace to boot.” The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:
Adrien Brody … Inspector Enzo Avolfi
Emmanuelle Seigner … Linda – The Ninth Gate; Bitter Moon
Elsa Pataky … Celine
Robert Miano … Inspector Mori
Valentina Izumi … Keiko [as Valentina Izumì]
Sato Oi … Midori
Luis Molteni … Sal
Taiyo Yamanouchi … Toshi
Daniela Fazzolari … Sophia
Nicolò Morselli … Young Enzo
Giuseppe Lo Console … Butcher
Anna Varello … Butcher’s Wife
Franco Vercelli … Cabbie
Lorenzo Pedrotti … Delivery Boy
Farhad Re … Designer

Filming locations:
Turin, Piedmont, Italy

Giallo premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In North America, it was shown at the Omaha International Film Festival in Omaha, Nebraska on 14 March 2010.

Claiming he was not paid the correct amount for his role in the film, Adrien Brody filed a lawsuit against the filmmakers and attempted to prevent the film’s release on DVD until he received his full salary.

In November 2010, Brody was granted a ruling in the United States District Court that blocked the sale or use of Brody’s likeness in Giallo until the actor’s remaining salary was paid. On 20 January 2011, Deadline Hollywood reported that Brody had reached a settlement with the producers.

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