February 9, 2021 – Slogging my way through the last of the 2020 films on my list I came across this strange film. It was released in the U.S. in June of 2020, but released in Europe in 2019. I couldn't really make much sense of it.
This is a star vehicle for Willem Dafoe (“The Lighthouse”) who plays the title character, an actor who also seems to be a screenwriter, producer and director, living in Rome. He teaches acting and attends Italian language tutoring sessions and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
He is married to a much younger woman, Nikki (played by Cristina Chiriac of “Siberia”). He lives with her and their young daughter, Dee Dee (Anna Ferrara). Tommaso becomes increasingly unhappy in his marriage as the story progresses.
He is jealous of his wife for real, or imagined, reasons. He wants to control his wife's actions, but she wants to be more independent. He feels his wife isn't careful enough regarding the safety of Dee Dee. Tommaso seems to react emotionally to events that he imagines, but are not real.
Tommaso is sexually frustrated in his marriage because it seems to him like his wife is too preoccupied with Dee Dee to pay him the amount of attention he thinks he deserves. Tommaso starts spending more time with some of his pretty young acting students, and with some of the women in his AA group, or is he just imagining this?
Tommaso is into some New Age beliefs about looking inward to find the meaning of his existence in the universe, breathing exercises, Yoga-like exercises (some of which are very impressive) and other things to make him feel better about his life, but none of that seems to be working.
Despite living a life that most people would love to have, he increasingly comes to see himself as a victim, rather than the lucky man he actually is. As the prison of his own mind closes in around him, Tommaso becomes increasing erratic, unstable and dangerous.
As Tommaso's life falls apart, he continues to work on a screenplay, which becomes a movie within the movie, a reflection of what is going on in his own mind. This New Age idea of expanding his mind actually causes his world to shrink, until the real world loses its meaning.
His imagined victimhood expands to the point where he imagines himself, like Christ, hanging on a cross. It is a very surrealistic scene. Willem Dafoe is a fine actor and he makes the most of his role — he emotes the hell out of it, but I sure could not make much sense out of this movie.
This movie is not just a series of random events, but it seems to be like a warped view of reality generated by an unstable mind, seriously detached from the real world. This film rates a C.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.