As an American raised on a Hollywood model of storytelling, I’m often frustrated by the languid pace of many European films. Not that I want the abhorrent ADHD pacing of a Michael Bay film, but I believe that every scene needs to have some element of conflict, a purpose, an arc and should come in late and leave early in the action.
With Black Souls, my patience was tested from the very first scene. This continued until what seemed like the middle of the film when we finally got what amounted to an inciting incident. The problem was it happened to a character that seemed to be of minor importance. It was hard to tell in general who the focus of the story was on.
However, I think that was part of the point. The film is a statement on violence and its destructiveness, a de-glamorizing of the Hollywood mafia movie. It tears apart families and communities and leaves no winners behind. Despite its problems, once I understood what was at stake and who I should care about emotionally, it was worth watching, even it it dragged at times. The ending is particularly shocking and unexpected.
(Italy) Dir: Francesco Munzi. Writer/s: Francesco Munzi, Maurizio Braucci, Fabrizio Ruggirello (novel by Gioacchino Criaco)