Human Capital Review

AKA: Il Capitale Umano

Genre: Drama

Year Released: 2013
Distributor: Film Movement

Origin: Italy

Running Time: 109 Minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 17+

Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Crash, Memento, Rashomon
Notes: N/A
Fun Facts:
-Human Capital is based on an American novel of the same name by Stephen Amidon.

-At the 69th Silver Ribbon Awards, this film won seven out of the nine categories that it was nominated for.

How much is a human life worth?

The story kicks off with a waiter finishing his shift at a ritzy soiree and minutes later, he gets hit by a car while he tried to go back home. This particular scandal is tied up with both a middle-class and upper-class family as the movie flips between six months prior to the event to after the crash happened. 

The story itself delves into three characters who have their own “chapters”. The first chapter proper focuses on Dino who is a middle-class father who’s trying to make a buck during the recession. He brags about being tennis buddies with the wealthy investor Giovanni and hypes up his real estate business more than what it’s actually worth. Chapter two involves Giovanni’s wife Carla who cares about luxurious things and theatrical productions despite barely knowing anything about them, but she’s also in an affair with a theater producer. Chapter three details the life of Serena who is Dino’s daughter that hangs out with Massimiliano who is the son of Carla and Giovanni. She gets into trouble with him and another boy named Luca while she’s away from her family. All of their lives have some proximity to the hit and run that happens at the beginning of the film.

Human Capital uses the Rashomon effect when it comes to the different perspectives of the story. You see repeated scenes, but done from different angles as they all intersect together. Not entirely original, but it was handled nicely. 

The cinematography is splendid and same with the scenery. It was filmed directly in Brianza where most of the story takes place, but they went to other cities like Osnago and Fortunago where they filmed Giovanni’s family mansion over there. The scenes involving the mansion or anything that involved Giovanni and Carla’s opulent world were filmed with this heavenly glow and the editing is softer and slower which reminded me of the New Greenwich scenes in the movie In Time strangely enough despite the both of them being completely different movies. I also like the scoring of the film. There’s a lot of American music peppered in, but one thing that I thought was genius was where Carla runs in the snow and Vivaldi’s Winter piece from The Four Seasons plays in the background which is way too appropriate.

The acting here was solid especially Fabrizio Bentivoglio’s portrayal of Dino Ossola. He’s just animated in this role as he’s trying to fast-talk his way into getting more money, trying way too hard to be Giovanni’s buddy, and the scene where he tries to help Carla at a certain cost had the right amount of sleaziness for him to do anything.

The plot itself has legitimate surprises as to who really hit the waiter, but some of the twists felt like double reverse psychology especially the ending where they find the culprit. I thought the foreshadowing leading up to it was obvious, but I couldn’t believe they pulled a fake out. Also, you never really get to know the life of the waiter or his surviving family members which makes the character way more of a plot device than an actual character himself. 

Some of the things I thought were unnecessary though. There were a few sex scenes in this movie that could have done without. I understand the subplot of Carla’s affair in a scene that I can only describe as Netflix and Chill: Avant-Garde Style, but the parts with Serena later on wasn’t needed even if it was relevant to that character and her relationship to another character (spoiler averted). I also saw some plot holes and mistakes. For example, whatever happened to Luca’s “half-dad”? Why are the wealthy families so easily forgiven after the twins got blamed? Also, the recession aspect could have had a stronger current involving the Ossola family besides the obvious even though Giovanni wouldn’t lose as much money as them despite the threat of losing business capital. Also, one thing that I thought was unintentionally funny was Massimiliano’s Jeep says “F** You in the back.” Hey, Massimiliano. I know English isn’t your first language, but you go to a rich private school and you should know that you’re missing an asterisk when it comes to censoring that obscenity. Just sayin’.

The ending was slightly anti-climactic despite a brief intense scene where they find the culprit. Sure, most of the characters are doing well except for a few, but it got rushed and they resorted to using a text epilogue as to what happened in court with the waiter’s family. I’m glad that the situation allowed to really bring context to the title of the movie, but they could have expanded on that.

Human Capital is a decent drama to check out that’s full of some twists, turns, betrayals, and some noir elements. I do wish certain characters would get highlighted more and some parts would be scaled back, but it’s still a good watch nonetheless.

-Excellent cinematography, lighting, and set design
-Good plot twists
-Great acting

-Some twists were predictable
-Lack of punishment for certain characters and some plot holes
-Rushed ending

Adjustable Point System:
Add 1 point if you like stories done from multiple perspectives
Subtract 2 points if you don’t like movies that deal with social strata

Final Score: 7/10 Points

Content Warnings: Not for kids. There’s a good amount of rough language spoken here, there are multiple sex scenes and one of them has nudity in it. There’s also drunk driving which becomes a legit plot point and one character gets really wasted.

-Curtis Monroe

Photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

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