Human Capital (4 stars)

Human Capital

Loris T. Zambelli

An impressive Italian thriller starring Valeria Golino and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

The value of a human life is a question of cold hard currency in Italian writer-director Paolo Virzì's cynical, deftly performed latest. The death of a cyclist is the starting point for a cleverly structured story detailing the shifting, dovetailing fortunes of two families in Northern Italy. Events are triggered by the greed of two very different men, with the happiness of their loved ones mere collateral damage.

Fabrizio Bentivoglio plays Dino, a chaotic estate agent in thrall to wealth. He shamelessly courts Giovanni (Fabrizio Gifuni), the slick and obscenely affluent father of his daughter's boyfriend, buying into his hedge fund to the tune of a whopping 700k, risking his home and business on a bank loan to secure a piece of the action. We also witness events from the perspective of Carla (the excellent Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), a woman who's sacrificed her career as an actress to play Giovanni's trophy wife, and through the eyes of Dino's secretive daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli).

Based on the acclaimed, US-set novel by Stephen Amidon and scripted in collaboration with Francesco Bruni and Francesco Piccolo, Human Capital is told in four acts from the viewpoint of three characters, with the final chapter acting as an epilogue. Virzì skilfully and unshowily knits together these occasionally intersecting stories in the build up to the hit-and-run and in its devastating aftermath. Illustrating that all is often not as it appears, it's only late in the game that we see the crucial, hidden piece of the puzzle.

Virzì draws emotional authenticity from his cast (including Valeria Golino as Dino's pregnant wife), who work from a script that favours truthful writing over theatrics. This is an elegant, effective thriller which shows the impact we have on the lives of others; how, with so much else in play, our futures may not be ours to decide.

Selected release from Fri 26 Sep.

Human Capital - (Il capitale umano) Official UK trailer

Human Capital

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • Italy / France
  • 1h 49min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Paolo Virzì
  • Cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Matilde Gioli, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
  • UK release: 26 September 2014

Wealth-obsessed Dino (Bentivoglio) risks his home and business on a bank loan to invest 700K in the hedge fund of obscenely affluent Giovanni (Gifuni), the father of his daughter's boyfriend. Virzi's cleverly-structured story, based on a novel by Stephen Amidon, is an elegant, effective thriller about the value of a human…